I keep running into a publisher called Elm Books on twitter, soliciting manuscripts of various genres on #MSWL. Does anyone know anything about them? Are they reputable or is this a scam?
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They're a new publishing company on the hunt for diverse books. Now, I love diverse books fiercely, but I'm not too impressed by their offering so far: high prices, and their nice cover images are spoiled by amateur font work that's unreadable at thumbnail size.
They seem to focus on selling on Smashwords rather than Amazon, and their book King Snake seems to be published already by an entirely different publisher, Brighton Publishing.
Some confusing terminology in the description of this book -- says it's the 2nd description, and then says it's selling the first edition. Not sure if that means they're onto a second bulk print run, or if they're just referring to a change in covers. I'm leaning towards the latter, since their books seem to be POD prices.
Their 'About Us' page has zero industry experience listed, which is the biggest concern by far. The main contact Leila has a linked in page with no industry experience visible but shows a keen interest in disability studies.
"Debuting" (their words) November 15, 2012, they have quite a small roster of authors so far. Three of their six books are by the same author/editor, and a fourth is that editor teamed with another. Only two other authors are on their roster, and one appears to have been published elsewhere first.
Jess Faraday also "moonlights as the mystery editor for Elm Books" -- I'm not sure why this is phrased this way or why she isn't openly an editor for them? So this means three of Elm Books publications are by one of their own editors. There's also a submission call for Elm Books on her website that isn't on the actual Elm Books page.
Lastly, their Twitter is all broadcast outwards with no interaction with the community or other members. That's not particularly damning, since they have other things to focus on, but it's worth noting.
Elm Books appears to be a two-woman team with Jessica Faraday as Editor and Leila Monaghan as Publisher. I'd give them a few years to find their feet. They definitely show promise and have good aims, but at this stage they're not providing advances, only 'shares of royalties'.
Thanks for that great response, EMaree! I had a feeling that they sounded a little unreliable. They have thrown out some requests on twitter for genres and topics that I am interested in and I was wondering whether to try sending them something. What you describe sounds like a lack of experience at best (if not an outright scam). It's probably not worth getting in touch with them.
I just wanted to check whether my feeling was wrong and there was someone here who had worked with them and had a wonderful experience (or an awful one).
I don't see anything 'scam-baggish' in the website; unless it turns out the 'share of royalties' is some minuscule, unverifiable share of profits instead of a solid share of sales.
But, as Emaree said, there's not much there to show one's publication with them will not become an embarrassing failure best left out of the CV. But that is likely to be the case with a great many otherwise legitimate and honest small epub presses, and sometimes one needs the validation simply to not surrender halfway and goes ahead and publishes something short with such a press, just to see one's work "in print" and be able to take strength from that to go on with the writing journey.
But seriously, someone needs to tell all the starting out book cover designers out there: "Whatever size you're thinking of doing the title of the book and the author's name in--quadruple it." I mean, all they have to do is look at the covers of the established publishers...it's not like it's a question of discovering the wheel.
Last edited by dondomat; 06-21-2014 at 03:21 PM.