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Thread: California Times Publishing

  1. #1
    addicted to love RNJ's Avatar
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    California Times Publishing

    Anyone have any dealing with California Times Publishing? I got an email from them the other day. They have a website and a blog. Their Facebook page doesn't work. That's all I can find on them. Thanks.
    "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." Sir Winston Churchill

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  2. #2
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Yes. They will have been around for a couple of years, established a track record (good or bad), and you'll know what you are getting into.

    ETA: link here, so people can make their own judgment calls. It's a publisher! It's a literary agency! It's a marketing firm!

    http://www.californiatimespublishing.com/
    Last edited by Filigree; 04-03-2014 at 11:53 PM.

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  3. #3
    addicted to love RNJ's Avatar
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    I don't mind submitting to a new publisher as long as they are legitimate. The BBB doesn't even have a listing for them. Too new maybe? Don't know. I emailed them back and pointed out the lack of information. I asked them to explain their situation and exactly what they do. We'll see if they respond.
    "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." Sir Winston Churchill

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  4. #4
    addicted to love RNJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    ETA: link here, so people can make their own judgment calls. It's a publisher! It's a literary agency! It's a marketing firm!

    http://www.californiatimespublishing.com/
    Exactly. I'm thinking they're more of a marketing firm than the other two. If they respond to my inquiry, I'll report back what they say.
    "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." Sir Winston Churchill

    I'm not lazy, I just follow the Laws of Conservation of Energy.




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  5. #5
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Very strange company, at least partly geared toward self-pubbers who want to boost sales (see their How It Works page). This brought me up short, however:

    "Once you sign with us, we reveal our techniques and strategies to you and develop a relationship with you to make sure you are getting the right results."

    Am I reading this right? They won't explain what they do until after you sign? No thanks.

    ETA: Just finished viewing the promo trailer featured in their Screenplays section.

    Last edited by mrsmig; 04-04-2014 at 12:26 AM.
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  6. #6
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    A BBB listing, or lack thereof, is utterly meaningless in this business.

    The fact that there are no prices and no concrete listing of services makes me inclined to ignore them. If I wanted these types of author services, there are more open and transparent companies I'd probably choose.

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  7. #7
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Just as a general update:

    Heh -- I just got an email demanding I remove this thread, threatening legal action if I don't.

    I personally wouldn't let this guy dog sit for me, let alone sign a contract trusting him with my manuscript.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 04-09-2015 at 07:31 AM.

  8. #8
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Filigree's Rule #8 (essentially): run away from publishers, agents, etc. the second you see them making legal threats at other people. Also, overtly litigious Ianguage on their website, or blustering no-criticism riders in their contract. Chances are, they might be already touchy; if you sign with them and rock the boat in any way, look out.

    ETA: which is too bad, because since I looked at CTP last, many of their covers are quite good at thumbnail browsing range. They have several authors who seem to have previously published with Big Five imprints.

    ETA2: looked at their stuff on Amazon. Most edited reasonably well. Of the current top sellers, most of the writing was good to great, with only one (a NaNo romance novel) showing derivative 'tell' instead of 'show'.

    I have no idea how effective their marketing is. Their website claims around 12,000 copies sold in 2014, and around 3000 copies in January - March 2015. Their Amazon rankings are on the high side, with about half the books I saw (only checked the first 3 pages of entries) around 1million or higher. I have not checked their site's global Internet rank, to get an idea how many hits it gets.

    They have a free option with no upfront costs, but it offers only fifteen percent royalties to the author. Their paid marketing packages offer higher royalties. Still that troubling language that trad pub is broken, and new indie authors don't have a chance to be noticed.

    So, caution from my perspective, influenced by Mac's latest news. They might be great for some writers. I won't touch them because of the legal thing.
    Last edited by Filigree; 04-09-2015 at 09:39 AM. Reason: Added info

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  9. #9
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Wow, just wow!

    tri

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW JinxVelox's Avatar
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    Received an email from them this week, did my research, and found this thread which explains them pretty well.

    They inquired about the book for which I got my rights back from Musa last year. Um, yeah, no thanks. I am quite enjoying the fact my sales have gone from 30 total in the year it was with Musa, to going on 100 times that since I got my rights back and released the book myself. Unless someone from the Big 5 wants to come knocking, I'm keeping all rights to the series and the subsequent series, thank you very much.
    Last edited by JinxVelox; 05-01-2015 at 05:23 AM. Reason: Fixed my math estimate after looking at sales

  11. #11
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JinxVelox View Post
    Received an email from them this week, did my research, and found this thread which explains them pretty well.

    They inquired about the book for which I got my rights back from Musa last year. Um, yeah, no thanks. I am quite enjoying the fact my sales have gone from 30 total in the year it was with Musa, to going on 100 times that since I got my rights back and released the book myself. Unless someone from the Big 5 wants to come knocking, I'm keeping all rights to the series and the subsequent series, thank you very much.
    I think that's your best plan of attack for now. Keep all rights and self-publish. Hell, change the title and do some structural changes and list it as a revised edition, if you're inclined to so so.

    Good luck with your sales!

    tri

  12. #12
    Engineer Sonneteer Norman D Gutter's Avatar
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    California Times Publishing

    I was contacted by California Times Publishing [http://www.californiatimespublishing.com/] concerning one of my books. It is always strange and a scam concern when someone contacts you like that. I'm checking them out before I respond. I searched this forum before posting, and couldn't find a reference to them. Anyone run into them before, or know anything about them?
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  13. #13
    Preparing for winter VeryBigBeard's Avatar
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    Do you edit the books that come in?


    We expect every book to be publish ready, so no, we don't want to edit them. It is your job as a writer to finish your book. We aren't editors. We are book sellers. If your book isn't finished, you will have reviewers tell you that it needs editing. And then, we are attached to the book. Can we edit? Yes, but it's a huge, time consuming job and editors will charge you. We've even edited this FAQ page 12 times and there are still some issues.
    '

    Oh look.

    ETA: Ask yourself if the website, and the way they reached out to you, is reader-centric or author-centric?
    Last edited by VeryBigBeard; 05-22-2015 at 06:51 AM.

  14. #14
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    Lots and lots of warning signs, in my opinion.

    1. They contacted you. Red Flag
    2. Site is directed at writers, not readers. Red Flag #2
    California Times Publishing is not for everyone. Some authors do a great job selling their books. We've run into a few that have taught us a few things as well. Every person in our staff has written something that is published online. We know what it feels like to be rejected. We also know what it feels like to sell. We are a marketing/management/publicity/agency for indie authors who want more out of their books than just a self published presence.
    From their About Us page.
    Sounds like they're authors first, whatever-the-hell-else second. Also looks like they're not exactly clear on what they're supposed to be themselves. On top of that, a "publisher for indie authors" is an oxymoron.
    Plus, a competent editor, copy-editor or even proofreader should have caught that "We are a [...] publicity [...] for indie authors" doesn't make any sense at all. Fairly sure it's self-publishing, not "self publishing". (Unless you're the product you're publishing, of course...)


    We bring readers to your book and they make the decision to buy or not, but at least you know readers are seeing it. Just becasue your book is published, doesn't mean people are opening up the front cover. What is it going to take to get them to buy? We know the answer.
    Oh come on. A spelling mistake that even the most basic spell-checking program catches. How do you open up a [front] cover, by the way? And I doubt they know the answer, going by what they're saying just a few sentences earlier:

    If your book meets our standards, we do everything we can to get you sales. Some of our books sell hundreds of copies, some sell only a few, but all of them get a fair chance with the same marketing program that has been proven over and over again, and it works.
    (emphasis mine)
    ...nice that they're at least somewhat realistic when it comes to sales, but if hundreds of copies is the upper margin of what they can do, with a risk of only selling a few, I see little if any difference with actual self-publishing.

    I'd also hesitate to say that a "marketing program" has been proven over and over again if it results at best in a few hundred sales. Plus, this sounds like they market every book the exact same way. Regardless of subject or genre.

    If you look further down the About Us page, there's a lovely little table of their 20 "bestselling books" with the number sold during one month--and since the months are all over the place, I highly suspect the months listed are the respective books' best months.

    Only 8 books in that top-20 have had a month where they sold over 100 books. The 20th bestselling book's listed (and likely best) month had 27 sales.

    ...and that's just from five minutes of poking around.

  15. #15
    Preparing for winter VeryBigBeard's Avatar
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    Their FAQ page raises some serious questions about whether they know what or why editing is, and also whether they know why contracts exist.

    It's a bit hard to glean because there is a lot of weird lingo, which in itself is a bad sign, but it looks like a POD/Createspace publisher/marketer/doodad combined with trying to be YADS without have any of the infrastructure to even attempt that.

  16. #16
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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