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Thread: [Publishing svcs] Pow-Wow Digital / Scrolla

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    [Publishing svcs] Pow-Wow Digital / Scrolla

    Pow-Wow Digital are looking for volunteers to take part in beta testing of a new model of book publishing, which we believe will revolutionise the way writers reach readers in the 21st century. This is not subsidy publishing or author services repackaged: we believe that writers should not pay to be published, if their work is of sufficient standard, and our model is and always will be free to writers. There will be no charges or fees to anybody taking part in the beta testing, nor any requirement to buy any books.

    Writers must have a completed, unpublished manuscript, ideally one which has been passed over by the traditional publishing industry but which you believe deserves to be read. It can be a novel, a short story collection, poetry or a non-fiction book.

    “Creative Partners” might have successfully self-published, or have worked in the publishing industry. They will have skills in one or more of the following areas:

    • Editing
    • Formatting
    • Proofreading
    • Cover design
    • Illustration
    • Marketing


    For more information, to ask us any questions, and to register an interest, go to

    http://pow-wow.org.uk/writers-editors-designers-and-self-publishers-wanted/

  2. #2
    Ooo! Shiny new cover! Absolute Sage Cathy C's Avatar
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    I find the statement, both here and on the website of, "There will be no charges or fees to anyone taking part in the beta testing, nor any requirement to buy any books." a little concerning.

    What about afterward? Will there be any fees to those accepted for publication---for editing, for promotion, for distribution, for cover art? No requirement or "suggestions" to buy books for signings or friends, or buying the books of other authors in the line, or requiring authors to promote the books of other authors or leave glowing reviews around the web?

    I'm not a huge fan of "secret" methods of publishing. But if it's truly some sort of unique platform that nobody has ever tried before to reach readers, then there might be some value. After all, it's not been that long ago that people couldn't imagine books as apps.

    The trick with beta testing is that there needs to be a concrete time period set in place so that authors know their books will be out of the market for some specified period, after which the book and rights to publish will be returned to them without effect---whether or not beta-testing is complete. This provides motivation for the company to be efficient and not make the process some sort of hobby venture. Right now, I see no such timeline. Open-ended beta testing could be devastating for an author, because it ties up options.
    Last edited by Cathy C; 05-28-2014 at 04:11 PM.
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  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi Cathy

    Thanks for your response. We're only keeping the process secret during the beta testing period- we want to iron out all the wrinkles before we officially launch the platform. We hadn't set a fixed period for beta testing because we don't know what technical problems we might encounter, but we're envisaging going public in the first quarter of 2015. Because it's an unproven model we're asking for manuscripts which writers have reluctantly given up on, but which they believe could be publishable with the right support. We don't want to limit anybody's opportunities, and we're confident that once it's established it will become the publishing route of first choice for many writers. And there will be no requirement to buy books at any point, and no costs ever to writers- it's fundamental to our model. We do envisage at a future point that Creative Partners might pay an annual registration fee, but anyone taking part in the beta testing will have free membership for life.

    Hope that puts some of your concerns to rest!

    Andy

  4. #4
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyKilleen View Post
    Pow-Wow Digital are looking for volunteers to take part in beta testing of a new model of book publishing, which we believe will revolutionise the way writers reach readers in the 21st century. This is not subsidy publishing or author services repackaged: we believe that writers should not pay to be published, if their work is of sufficient standard, and our model is and always will be free to writers. There will be no charges or fees to anybody taking part in the beta testing, nor any requirement to buy any books.

    Writers must have a completed, unpublished manuscript, ideally one which has been passed over by the traditional publishing industry but which you believe deserves to be read. It can be a novel, a short story collection, poetry or a non-fiction book.

    “Creative Partners” might have successfully self-published, or have worked in the publishing industry. They will have skills in one or more of the following areas:

    • Editing
    • Formatting
    • Proofreading
    • Cover design
    • Illustration
    • Marketing


    For more information, to ask us any questions, and to register an interest, go to

    http://pow-wow.org.uk/writers-editors-designers-and-self-publishers-wanted/
    Quote Originally Posted by AndyKilleen View Post
    Hi Cathy

    Thanks for your response. We're only keeping the process secret during the beta testing period- we want to iron out all the wrinkles before we officially launch the platform. We hadn't set a fixed period for beta testing because we don't know what technical problems we might encounter, but we're envisaging going public in the first quarter of 2015. Because it's an unproven model we're asking for manuscripts which writers have reluctantly given up on, but which they believe could be publishable with the right support. We don't want to limit anybody's opportunities, and we're confident that once it's established it will become the publishing route of first choice for many writers. And there will be no requirement to buy books at any point, and no costs ever to writers- it's fundamental to our model. We do envisage at a future point that Creative Partners might pay an annual registration fee, but anyone taking part in the beta testing will have free membership for life.

    Hope that puts some of your concerns to rest!

    Andy
    I'm not convinced that this is anything more than yet another display site, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I'm going to move this to BR&BC, where it'll get more appropriate attention.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thank you for the benefit of the doubt! No, it's not a display site. I understand why people are cautious, and rightly so, but this is a genuine opportunity to be in on the ground floor of something new. I'd ask anybody who's curious to register an interest, at no cost and no obligation- you'll be given all the information necessary to decide whether you want to be involved or not.

  6. #6
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Andy, you're asking people to sign up now, even though you're not telling them anything about what they're signing up for:

    How does it work?
    We can’t tell you at the moment. We’re keeping the process secret during the testing period, and if you’re selected to take part you’ll have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. But you’ll have the chance to pull out if you decide it’s not for you.


    Can you guarantee my book will be published?
    No. We estimate that one out of every ten manuscripts submitted will make it to publication. But if you are successful your work will be professionally edited, formatted, proofread and packaged. We are negotiating with distributors to ensure that our books are available in high street shops as well as online.
    I don't think that's going to work out well for you, or for them.

    ETA: And it looks like you're offering paid-for services. But you don't disclose your charges, nor do you seem to tell anyone who will be providing those services, and what their skills or experiences are.
    Last edited by Old Hack; 05-28-2014 at 05:56 PM.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    At this stage we're asking for expressions of interest, not a commitment. Everybody who has expressed an interest will be given the full information before being given the choice to sign up. However I take your point- I'll raise it at the next board meeting, and we'll discuss whether we should just go public with the model now. There has already been considerable interest though.

    The paid for services are a separate business- I support a lot of people with their writing in the English Midlands, where I have a reasonably high profile as a creative writing teacher. The platform is currently under construction, and will be a totally distinct website.

  8. #8
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyKilleen View Post
    At this stage we're asking for expressions of interest, not a commitment. Everybody who has expressed an interest will be given the full information before being given the choice to sign up. However I take your point- I'll raise it at the next board meeting, and we'll discuss whether we should just go public with the model now. There has already been considerable interest though.
    There might be interest, Andy, but interest in what? It's impossible to know. Either tell people what you're doing or don't, but don't try to drum up interest in something you're not prepared to talk about. It's more likely to irritate people and put them off than intrigue them.

    The paid for services are a separate business- I support a lot of people with their writing in the English Midlands, where I have a reasonably high profile as a creative writing teacher. The platform is currently under construction, and will be a totally distinct website.
    It doesn't look like a separate business. From the page I linked to above:

    If you’re serious about making your writing as good as it can possibly be, then Pow-Wow offers a range of services to support you.
    So the writing services you're offering are advertised on the website of the new, as yet top-secret business; your own wording states that Pow-Wow offers a range of services; but they're a separate business to Pow-Wow.

    I don't see that separation, I'm afraid.

  9. #9
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    To clarify- the new business will have its own website and own branding, completely separate from Pow-Wow. No writer will be charged, now or ever, to be published through the new model. Everybody who expresses an interest will be given full details of how it works before they decide whether to be involved.

    I understand why people need to be cautious, but it's a shame that the sharks make genuine innovation so difficult. We're just looking for people who want to try this out, using manuscripts which they currently have no prospect of getting published elsewhere.

  10. #10
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    You want volunteers for something utterly secret?

    Um. No.

    Honestly, it is not a shame that people will not throw hundreds of hours of their hard labor into your black hole of secrecy. That is not caution, it is called having some respect for your work.

    I would also bet big money that your idea is not as innovative as you think. These forums are littered with the skeletons of start ups promising to revolutionize publishing. It turns out to mean a display site, ebook, annoying video ebook, pyramid scheme, or cooperative.
    Last edited by veinglory; 05-28-2014 at 08:04 PM.
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  11. #11
    Romance with Kick-Assitude! Cassie Knight's Avatar
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    Hmm. I'm usually as skeptical as the rest of you but when I clicked on the links, it seems they really are only assessing interest. It seems to me that if, at this point, they are only looking for interested people and are willing (and do) share their model before asking anyone to firmly commit to anything, what does one have to lose?

    "We’re keeping the process secret during the testing period, and if you’re selected to take part you’ll have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. But you’ll have the chance to pull out if you decide it’s not for you."

    Color me intrigued enough to sign up and see.
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  12. #12
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyKilleen View Post
    I understand why people need to be cautious, but it's a shame that the sharks make genuine innovation so difficult.
    Publishing is roughly 5,000 years old. European print publishing is roughly 578 years old.

    Ebook creation and publication is an innovation; it's more than twenty years old.

    But co-op publication, publication by subscription, author-funded publication are all old, as in hundreds of years old.

    Also: a publisher wanting

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyKilleen View Post
    We're just looking for people who want to try this out, using manuscripts which they currently have no prospect of getting published elsewhere.
    is at best weird.

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  13. #13
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Apart from anything else who invests in no-hope manuscripts as the basis of a new business?
    Everything yields to treatment.

  14. #14
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    veinglory- to reiterate, anyone expressing an interest will be given the full details before committing to anything. I have the greatest respect for writers and their work. Re innovation, of course there's nothing really new under the sun. But we've spent a year developing this and looking at where similar things have been tried and what's gone wrong, and we think we have something that's not been done before. It's because the detail is important that we're reluctant to give a quick summary, just to have people point out potential flaws that we've already thought through.

    Cassie- thank you!

    Medievalist- the reasoning behind this is that we're asking people to commit their work to an unproven model. Are you saying that there are no great books out there which traditional publishing has not picked up, and which their writers don't want to self-publish for a variety of reasons? We believe those books exist.

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    Bufty- no doubt we will get no-hope books, and they won't get published through this model. But I don't believe that every book rejected by traditional publishers is a no-hoper. I think the slush pile model is an appallingly inefficient way of finding talent.

  16. #16
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    I have to go offline now- got to feed my family! I'm not ducking any questions or challenge. I'll log on again tomorrow and respond to anything that needs answering. Thanks everybody for taking the time to post.

  17. #17
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    And how do you think your own selection process based upon a blanket request for rejected manuscripts will be more efficient?

    Short of everyone posting the first few chapters of their work on a central site accessible by Agents and Publishers, and/or open to starring/rating by potential readers, I can't see any alternative to the present system that has worked well for many years despite its flaws, but...

    Good luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyKilleen View Post
    Bufty- no doubt we will get no-hope books, and they won't get published through this model. But I don't believe that every book rejected by traditional publishers is a no-hoper. I think the slush pile model is an appallingly inefficient way of finding talent.
    Last edited by Bufty; 05-28-2014 at 09:01 PM.
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  18. #18
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyKilleen View Post
    Are you saying that there are no great books out there which traditional publishing has not picked up, and which their writers don't want to self-publish for a variety of reasons? We believe those books exist.
    Had I wanted to say that, I would have actually said that. You will notice I didn't.

    Service bureaus are not new. There are any number of publishing services, and packages, and even à la carte offerings for specific services. There are many many authors using them quite happily and successfully.

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  19. #19
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyKilleen View Post
    Bufty- no doubt we will get no-hope books, and they won't get published through this model. But I don't believe that every book rejected by traditional publishers is a no-hoper. I think the slush pile model is an appallingly inefficient way of finding talent.
    It is, which is why it's hardly used...

  20. #20
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    I've read several slushpiles in my time. They are appallingly efficient ways to tell writing quality, at least from a base level of separating the barely-literate from authors with some commercial potential. The slushpile is usually just the first filter. If a mms gets past that rung, it has many more tests ahead before publication. If it fails five or six or more slush submissions from different publishers, there is probably something wrong with the mms, not the 'system'.

    Attitudes toward slush are a pretty good way to winnow viable publishers from dilettantes or predators. Nobody really enjoys dealing with the slushpile, it's like looking for treasure in a mountain of bland pablum (or occasionally raw sewage). But there are finds to be made, which is why some publishers still have slushpiles. Others ran away and made agents prefilter the better entries.

    Yeah, there are quirky brilliant books which don't make the cut either way - but they likely would not have been well-served by that publisher or agent, anyway. That's what smaller indie publishers are for, and true self-publishing.

    This will be an interesting experiment to see unfold. But I don't have any mms to commit to it.

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  21. #21
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    I'll only join if it involves a secret handshake and a blood oath.

    No, seriously Andy, you're probably well aware very few writers can do so full time; thus, our hours are limited. The idea of taking time to fill out an online form to get information on a service that may--or may not--be of interest leaves me cold.
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  22. #22
    All the manuscripts I've taken out of submission fall into one of two categories:

    A) Manuscripts I don't wish to ever see the light of day.

    B) Manuscripts that slipped through the cracks. Got plenty of requests and good feedback but just didn't make that final cut.

    I assume you're looking for manuscripts in category B, but honestly, they mean more to me than to throw them away on someone's mystery project. If I genuinely think something's publishable, I hold onto it. Maybe I'll self-publish it someday or maybe it'll find a home after I've published something else.

    If you need manuscripts just to test out your technology (whatever that may be), why not simply take something in the public domain and test that? If you're feeling humorous, add the word "zombie" in front of one character's name, the word "robot" in front of another character's name, and the word "vampire" in front of another character's name. Set the price insanely low (or free) and try it out.

    I agree that if you're not in a stage where you can set a distinct end date for the beta-testing, you are probably not yet at a stage where you should be soliciting manuscripts.
    Last edited by Katrina S. Forest; 05-29-2014 at 02:59 PM.
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  23. #23
    Just the facts, please
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    Perhaps it's because I'm on mobile, but I'm not seeing anything on who's behind this mysterious venture and what their backgrounds in publishing are. That type of information would be very helpful.

    The connection to the local writing/crit group gives this an intensely parochial flavor in my eyes. Are you seeking writers outside the UK or the Midlands, even?

  24. #24
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    I've just been pointed towards this snippet of information about PowWow which Andy Killeen posted on WriteWords a few days ago:

    Broadly speaking it's a profit sharing model. Of course this isn't going to deliver full-time incomes straight away, but we think that people who come from a writing background are not going to be scared of working for future royalties, and of portfolio careers. It offers people a chance to use practical skills developed through self-publishing to build a freelance, home-based career in publishing without having to go and intern in London for a year. And of course if we don't sell any books we don't make any money either, so we're very motivated to help everyone succeed! We'll have collective power when it comes to purchasing and marketing, and we have a few tricks up our sleeve too.

  25. #25
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Not seeing anything earthshakingly new there.
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