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Thread: [Packager] VaskoBooks / Vasko Pty Ltd.

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW JulesJones's Avatar
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    [Packager] VaskoBooks / Vasko Pty Ltd.

    There's already a thread on this publisher in Paying Markets, which Victoria suggested be ported to B&BC. I'd second that.

    I found a solicitation in my in-box this morning. It starts:

    My name is Kosta and I am the senior editor at Vaskobooks, a boutique erotic romance publisher. We specialise in publishing short erotic romances and are currently seeking writers interested in freelance writing work. I found your books on Loose-ID.com and feel you would be a great candidate for this position as many self-publishing authors also write for us on the side.

    If you know enough about the erotic romance epub market to be a competent publisher in that general area, you ought to be aware that Loose-ID.com, better known to its friends as Loose Id, is not a self-publishing site. (The URL is also not capitalised that way on Loose Id's own site, although it is on some third party distributers which also host self-publishers.) It seems to me that someone's either scraping names and email addresses with a bot, or is using the same boilerplate for all solicitations.

    They have titles doing well on iBooks, so they probably are a competent niche "house name" publisher that does know the market. But that makes what I received look very much like a spammed mailshot looking for self-published writers unfamiliar with ghost-writing contracts and rates.
    http://www.julesjones.com

    Flynnís not as anonymous as he thinks when he tells his chatroom friends what he wants his new boss to do to him. When his boss confronts him, Flynnís choice is put up or shut up. He can play out the fantasy or walk away and forget about his fantasies forever.
    A Collision With Reality - released by NineStar Press on 2 January 2017.

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Coffee Coffee Work Coffee AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    FYI, I also got this same solicitation in my website contact. (Including the reference to Loose-ID.com... I do have one book with LI.)

    I ignored it, as my plate is full and I'm leery of anyone who does this kind of solicitation.
    Latest Release: Daily Grind
    Coming October 2017: Outside the Lines

    Website * Twitter * Tumblr

  4. #4
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    I looked at them last year and decided it wasn't worth ghosting for. If I'm putting that much effort into something, it had better be *mine*.

    UPDATE: Remembered that I looked at Vasko again recently when they were soliciting self-published authors. The promises of sales from Apple-related platforms are suspiciously rosy. I'm waiting to hear back from a couple of authors working with Vasko, but they were in their honeymoon phase with the company when I last heard.
    Last edited by Filigree; 04-27-2015 at 08:02 PM.

    M/M/M contemporary erotic romance novella out now from NineStar Press!

    Blog: Blue Night(blog back up, mwhahaha!)
    My art and jewelry online at SaatchiArt.
    My collected Filigree's Rule posts for would-be writers (learn from my mistakes!)

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi Everyone,

    I apologise for it taking so long to clear up your queries! VaskoBooks is a small, boutique indie publisher and as such, you may need to bare with us and our methods at times. There are a lot of great questions and feedback in this thread that is immensely useful to us so thank you.

    I have updated the original post with a more detailed job description, as well as more information on the Vasko profile page.
    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/show...errerid=123277

    Any other comments, questions or suggestions you may have, feel free to contact me by posting a reply or sending me an email.
    Last edited by vasko; 07-15-2015 at 01:22 PM.

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hey Jules,

    No use of spam bots here, we find potential writers the old fashion way (usually by finding their website, blog or even facebook author page, after coming across their books online). Sometimes the site we find a writer's books on may lead us to other writers we want to contact about working with Vasko (like Loose Id for example), but primarily we contact authors after finding their ebooks or blogs online, or even being referred to them by another author. The only contact details we use is what is already available in the public domain, most often by the writer themselves.

    Hope that clarifies any concerns you may have had!

    Belinda
    VaskoBooks

  7. #7
    Born at sea Clairels's Avatar
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    "We find authors the old-fashioned way--on the Internet!"



    Sorry, couldn't help it.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW JulesJones's Avatar
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    Vasko, I'm not criticising you for using contact details that are in the public domain. I'm noting that the way you are using those details strongly suggests that you are either scraping those details with a bot, or are using the same boilerplate email for all your unsolicited contact with authors (or possibly both), and the nature of the boilerplate makes me think that you may be fishing for inexperienced self-published writers who have talent but insufficient cynicism to check out what a reasonable work for hire contract and payment look like. It does not have to have been sent by a bot to be spam.

    In detail: if an actual human had really found my work on Loose Id's own website, and looked at enough of it to assess whether my work was any good, said human would have probably noticed that I'm not self-published. A human may or may not have made that error in punctuating the URL, but it does make it look as if human or bot probably did not find my books on Loose Id's own site as claimed in the email, but on a third party distributor. So from my perspective, that email from "senior editor Kosta" is deliberately deceptive. Yes, someone or somebot found my books somewhere. "Found" is not the same thing as "read and thought 'this is good'". I did go and look up some of your titles on iBooks. Without that supporting evidence of real sales, I would have assumed from the wording of the email that the sender was at best a clueless wannabe, and more likely a stealth vanity looking for new marks.

    It didn't help that your original post in the market thread was very short on important details like rights taken and rates paid. It's much better now, and thank you for clarifying that.
    http://www.julesjones.com

    Flynnís not as anonymous as he thinks when he tells his chatroom friends what he wants his new boss to do to him. When his boss confronts him, Flynnís choice is put up or shut up. He can play out the fantasy or walk away and forget about his fantasies forever.
    A Collision With Reality - released by NineStar Press on 2 January 2017.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulesJones View Post
    In detail: if an actual human had really found my work on Loose Id's own website, and looked at enough of it to assess whether my work was any good, said human would have probably noticed that I'm not self-published.
    We look for all sorts of writers across multiple platforms whether they be unpublished, self published, highly experienced, or burgeoning authors. As long as they have experience and skill in writing contemporary Romance and Erotic fiction. We do not exclusively hire unpublished or self published authors.

    Quote Originally Posted by JulesJones View Post
    Yes, someone or somebot found my books somewhere. "Found" is not the same thing as "read and thought 'this is good'".

    When we find a suitable writer and contact them, we make sure to include the exact place we found their work (which often includes samples/excerpts of an author's book, as is the case with Loose Id). We do not use bots or boiler templates to collect and contact writers as we only contact those whose work we think best matches what we do.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW JulesJones's Avatar
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    I repeat - if senior editor Kosta really found my books on Loose Id's own website, it should have been obvious that those books are not self-published. And yet the email was addressed to me on the assumption that I "would be a great candidate for this position as many self-publishing authors also write for us on the side." That is a direct cut and paste from the email. The most charitable interpretation of this is that you have one boilerplate for self-published authors and another for commercially published authors, and someone hit the wrong macro button.

    The rest of the email makes it quite obvious it's boilerplate, and appears to be targeted at self-published authors - that is not a criticism or an insult, but simply an observation. I've had boilerplate before from a respectable small press that at the time didn't have open submissions, but would occasionally contact individual authors to say they were welcome to submit. The problem is not that it's boilerplate, but that it's mistargeted boilerplate; and mistargeted in a way that suggests you're mailshotting a lot of authors based on them having written books which are listed as erotic romance, without any particular interest in or knowledge of their work beyond that other than possibly their sales rank on Amazon. You repeatedly denying that it's boilerplate makes this more likely, not less.

    If I thought you were obviously an out and out vanity press, I'd have posted the whole thing here for public dissection. As it is, you're using a lot of phrases that in the experience of members of this board are strongly associated with inexperienced publishers who think they are bringing a new paradigm to publishing, etc, and engaging in a behaviour pattern also strongly associated with such publishers. We've seen too many of them go into a tailspin over the years.

    I also think you're sharks engaged in a rights grab, but that's normal for publishers, including perfectly respectable Big 6/5/4 publishers. :-) It's the specific nature of the rights grab that concerned me. The work you're offering looks interesting, and something I'd be interested in trying were I physically capable of reliably writing to short deadlines. But for a flat fee of 2-3c/word and no royalties, I'd be expecting to sell only first rights, not work for hire.

    While I'm offering unsolicited advice - for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, make your site readable to someone who surfs with Javascript firmly locked down. Some of us are concerned about security and don't let strange websites run Javascript; some of us use accessibility software and find unsolicited Javascript can interfere with our ability to use our computer (I often have to use Dragon Naturally Speaking, so I'm speaking from personal experience here). You could have sent me a convincingly personalised email demonstrating that you'd actually read a page or even the blurb of one of my books, and I'd have still put it in the round file after hitting your site. I'm not the only one around here who would do the same.
    Last edited by JulesJones; 07-22-2015 at 01:50 AM.
    http://www.julesjones.com

    Flynnís not as anonymous as he thinks when he tells his chatroom friends what he wants his new boss to do to him. When his boss confronts him, Flynnís choice is put up or shut up. He can play out the fantasy or walk away and forget about his fantasies forever.
    A Collision With Reality - released by NineStar Press on 2 January 2017.

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thank Jules for your unsolicited advice! It's really helpful to small publishers like us who are learning more and more about the industry as they go.

    Quote Originally Posted by JulesJones View Post
    If you know enough about the erotic romance epub market to be a competent publisher in that general area, you ought to be aware that Loose-ID.com, better known to its friends as Loose Id, is not a self-publishing site.
    It seems that all of the concerns you pointed are due to human error more than anything else, and in terms of Loose Id, we considered authors suitable based on the information available on their profile page (bio, books and excerpts). Although we don't specifically look for self-published writers, it was not obvious to us that Loose Id authors weren't self published, which is probably why that reference was made in the email you received (again, learning as we go!).

    But being the person who finds the authors we email, I can tell you the decision to contact an author is based on first finding their work online (either through online book stores, writers blogs, or online communities/groups, whether self published or not), then searching for that author's blog or website if they have one to get more information.

    As for our site - again thank you - I can assure you we were not aware of this concern, but it's definitely something we can fix.

  12. #12
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Adding link: http://www.vaskobooks.com/

    Most recent spam campaign is for their Creative Online Publishing: http://www.creativeonlinepub.com/
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I went to their website for Creative Online Publishing. What bothered me was that they only gave the first names of their staff. I like to know exactly who I'm working with.

    They're also advertising in the RWA's Romance Writers Report magazine, but the advance they're offering is $1,000, rather than the $500 offered on the website. So I'm not sure of the rate.

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW JulesJones's Avatar
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    They're spamming again. This time it's to advertise their book promo service:

    Jules we will get your eBook ranked top 100 FREE on Amazon, guaranteed!

    This week we're #1 on the Amazon Charts! Congratulations to an amazing author, *** whose title *** was catapulted into the top spot after teaming with us for a promotion!

    If you're wondering why your eBook isn't selling, we've got the answer for you. With thousands of eBooks on the market you need to get yours noticed, this is where we come in!
    It's time to get noticed!

    • Schedule your title for a KDP FREE or PERMAFREE promotion.
    • We use our network to rocket your title to the top of the FREE bestseller charts.
    • This places your title at the top of your categories so thousands of readers will see and download your eBook!

    Get this premium service now...

    Visit our website to purchase this premium service now for $369.00USD, if your book doesn't rank in the top 100 on Amazon we'll give you your money back!

    * VaskoBooks is promoting the eBook RED ROCKET as a third party partner.

    ****
    So $369 to get your book pushed into the top 100 free books on Amazon, where Vasko appear to be reselling a third party service and taking affiliate income. For comparison, BookBub is currently charging $367 for contemporary romance. The bit about "we use our network" makes me wonder exactly how they're achieving pushing the title up the chart. I suspect it is not by using an opt-in mailing list to put the book in front of readers who might be genuinely interested in reading it.

    Oh, and they're still using a free hosting site for their main website; one which you cannot see without enabling JavaScript.
    http://www.julesjones.com

    Flynnís not as anonymous as he thinks when he tells his chatroom friends what he wants his new boss to do to him. When his boss confronts him, Flynnís choice is put up or shut up. He can play out the fantasy or walk away and forget about his fantasies forever.
    A Collision With Reality - released by NineStar Press on 2 January 2017.

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