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Thread: Kellan Publishing

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Kellan Publishing

    I sent them a query plus longer synopsis when they announced they were open to submissions. By that evening, they requested the first two chapters. By the next afternoon, they sent me a contract. This blinding speed contrasted strangely with the lack of response from agents. Has anyone here had any experiences with Kellan? I was able to contact one other writer in their stable. She seems okay with them, but with no advance and very little in the way of marketing, this doesn't look much better to me than self-publishing. Comments?

  2. #2
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Is this the link? http://www.kellanpublishing.com/

    If so, I'll sniff around and see what I can find. Offhand, I'd say the speed of acceptance could be a huge red flag.

    ETA: this gem from their 'About Us' section.

    'Unlike many publishing companies out there, Kellan Publishing does not charge a fee to writers. We absorb all costs and pay the authors their royalties. We offer two types of contracts once a proposal is accepted; writing or publishing.'

    What? What does that even mean?

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  3. #3
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    Agreed. It's an odd sentence. If "accepted" was followed by a colon, it would be grammatically correct (albeit murky); as it stands, though ... I dunno.
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  4. #4
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Another bit from the Author FAQ:

    'The Author will work with the Publisher and on his/her own to assist in marketing their works. The Publisher will exhaust all avenues of marketing and publicity for the Work; however, it is also the responsibility of the Author to diligently and exhaustively work on publicity and marketing for their Work. The Author agrees to use the marketing techniques set forth in the marketing guide and to not seek out any other avenues not set forth in the marketing guide without advance written permission of the Publisher.'

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  5. #5
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    They launched in 2013. Here's a free press release with the standard new-publisher-takes-on-world blurbage:

    'Kellan Publishing is pioneering a new way of publishing, reader/author interaction, author advantages and advantages to readers. Upcoming this year, Kellan Publishing will be introducing new ideas and ways to read stories that benefit readers and authors alike.'

    I'd probably never sub to them, but that's just me. Several of their books are currently ranked around 300K to 500K sales rank on Amazon, many more up in the millions. Because of Filigree's Rule, I won't be commenting more on this publisher.

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  6. #6
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Yeah, I twice got sucked in to publishers who ran on similar "author assumes bulk of marketing" models. If you're the type of person who likes doing publicity and marketing and can do them well, then perhaps it will work for you. Personally, I move on from publishers like this because they are asking me to do something I don't do well or particularly like in order for it to work.
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  7. #7
    Ships full of vampires are hell. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    Legit? Well, they don't look like a scam, for what it's worth. So yes. Legit for that definition.

    But they do look very small and not as savvy about publishing as some other good small presses. Personally, I'd pass. I'm not giving up a good hunk of my royalties for meh cover art, meh editing, and little marketing, but that's me.

    I tend to aim as high as I can for whatever book, then trunk it if I can't sell it at a certain level of publisher.

    Generally, the best time to research a publisher is before you submit to them...
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  8. #8
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfman141 View Post
    I sent them a query plus longer synopsis when they announced they were open to submissions. By that evening, they requested the first two chapters. By the next afternoon, they sent me a contract.
    Did they request a full or was the contract issued on the basis of the first two chapters plus synopsis?
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  9. #9
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfman141 View Post
    I sent them a query plus longer synopsis when they announced they were open to submissions. By that evening, they requested the first two chapters. By the next afternoon, they sent me a contract. This blinding speed contrasted strangely with the lack of response from agents. Has anyone here had any experiences with Kellan? I was able to contact one other writer in their stable. She seems okay with them, but with no advance and very little in the way of marketing, this doesn't look much better to me than self-publishing. Comments?
    Hi wolfman141, and welcome to AW.

    I'd step away. Any publishing company that would offer a contract based on two (TWO) chapters of a work sounds like an author mill. I found some of their "benefits to authors" peculiar, like this one:

    With Kellan Publishing, you are joining a network of authors. Their contacts will be visiting the bookstore with your book(s) in it, and your contacts will do the same. This process creates more exposure to all of our books and gives authors a better chance of selling than going it alone.
    In other words, not only are you expected to shoulder much of the marketing burden, you're also expected to promote other Kellan authors. Frankly, I don't see this additional workload to be much of a benefit.
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  10. #10
    Aspiring supervillain Pony.'s Avatar
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    From their submission page(no joke,i did not tamper with this):

    ' We accept three (5) types of works for Kellan Publishing. They are as follows:'

    and then the 'follows' lists five descriptions with one lined out, leaving four types.


  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pony. View Post
    From their submission page(no joke,i did not tamper with this):

    ' We accept three (5) types of works for Kellan Publishing. They are as follows:'

    and then the 'follows' lists five descriptions with one lined out, leaving four types.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW
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    Their definition of a synopsis: "something that could be used for the back of a book. The purpose is to provide the information that will entice and explain the story."

    Nope. That's not what a synopsis is.

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Just on the basis of the two chapters. That was a huge red flag for me. I have read but not signed the contract. I agree with the cautions I've seen above, as well. If I'm doing the marketing, I may as well self-publish and keep all the income above costs myself. I know I can get a good cover for $150 or so, and the rest of the publishing process is more or less free. But before I do that, I still hope I can land an agent and a real publisher.

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks, I agree. I also suspect that the "bookstore" that would have my book in it would be nothing more than their own website. Many of their authors also sell through Amazon. Maybe they want to encourage each writer in their stable to send those links to their followers. This doesn't look like a successful marketing plan to me. Big publishers have a sales force that gets their books into retailers. Plus a dedicated effort to libraries. Plus ads in the trades. [sigh]

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    What everyone else said.

    I'm posting though, to say that if you're looking for an agent, you probably want to stop sending queries to publishers!

  16. #16
    Heckuva good sport frimble3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    Another bit from the Author FAQ:

    'The Author will work with the Publisher and on his/her own to assist in marketing their works. The Publisher will exhaust all avenues of marketing and publicity for the Work; however, it is also the responsibility of the Author to diligently and exhaustively work on publicity and marketing for their Work. The Author agrees to use the marketing techniques set forth in the marketing guide and to not seek out any other avenues not set forth in the marketing guide without advance written permission of the Publisher.'
    My bolding: does this seem as though the 'techniques' are actually paid marketing services, and that the Publisher doesn't want any 'other avenues' to get a cut of the Author's money?
    Because, if the Author can find a marketing avenue that works for them, why not sit back and let them run with it?

  17. #17
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfman141 View Post
    Just on the basis of the two chapters. That was a huge red flag for me.
    You're right. I would avoid them.

    I know I can get a good cover for $150 or so, and the rest of the publishing process is more or less free.
    The cover in my avatar was done by an AW member for $80.
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  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ruffbear7's Avatar
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    Perhaps if you and anyone else on this thread had bothered to contact Kellan or one of the authors published by Kellan (Hi!) you would not have had to come to an inaccurate conclusion. I have paid absolutely nothing to Kellan for the publication or marketing of my first novel and novelette. I have never been asked to pay for anything. I was asked to choose one photo from DepositPhotos to be the base of the cover art. I found two that I wanted merged and offered to pay for the second. I was told Kellan would buy both photos, so I paid nothing for the cover. Only one person has said anything negative about the cover and she was a bit of a witch. I have never been chastised or cut off for failing to try to market my work to the best of my ability or for pursuing avenues for marketing that went beyond the marketing techniques in the guide. In fact, I have offered suggestions for others to try that were suggested to me. The Kellan website offers the best prices for our books because Amazon isn't setting the price. The Amazon prices are far too high for a new author and I am sure they have hurt sales. The Kindle version for my novel is $5 more on Amazon than on Kellan's site or B&N. The problem is everyone looks for books on Amazon. My best interests are served by routing people to Kellan's site where customers also may find another author.

    I have no idea what people are talking about avoiding publishers who want authors to do marketing. Book tours have been around for almost 200 years. Even major houses are no longer providing anywhere near as much publicity as they did not too long ago because the field has grown so much from self-publishing, etc. that it is too noisy. I discovered I am not very good at marketing either. I just asked friends on Facebook to provide advice and I got some great ideas. I have spent some money on marketing, but none of it has gone to Kellan.

    When I signed my contract 11 months ago, the material I was given indicated I would be averaging about one dollar per sale as my 50 percent of the net. It has turned out to be about $2.20.

    Kellan is a one-person operation, someone interested in trying to build a community of writers who only have Kellan Publishing in common. It is no different than Dreamspinner Press and many other small publishers in that regard. The pettiness in this thread is just unbelievable. Why would an author not want to help other authors at the same publisher? The person running the show knows she is not the keenest editor, as is obvious from the errors on the website. She also has a full-time job on top of this, just like a lot of writers. She relies on authors like me who do not need editing. She must be doing something right because authors go back to her to publish again and again. She responds quickly to messages or sends a message out that she cannot respond until x date.

    The fact is that I am looking for another publisher. Kellan uses CreateSpace for paperbacks. The discount for bookstores is only 25% so bookstores won't stock CreateSpace books because they want a 40% discount. On top of that, the product does not look like a traditional trade paperback and is way too expensive unless I buy them at cost and sell them myself. I can make $4 selling them for $12, while I get just over $2 when everyone else sells them for $16. The bigger problem is that Kellan has not held up its end of the bargain in terms of marketing. Aside from changes to the website, I haven't seen any effort to promote my book. And the novelette came packaged with another from a completely different genre and excerpts from the authors' novels because a third author never turned in her story. The cover and name of the collection horrified me, because they had absolutely nothing to do with the supposed theme: veterans. In other words, Kellan is still a little shy of being a fully professional operation and that is not good for an author like me who is producing literary works. Kellan is fine for romance novelists and other genres. It is in no way a rip-off or scam. It does allow an an author to avoid the self-published stigma, all of the production stuff is done for you at no cost, and the royalty arrangement is good.

    I just joined this site after reading this thread. I hope the misguided, ignorant comments in this thread are not indicative of other discussions.

  19. #19
    Just visiting Samsonet's Avatar
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    There's a part of me that's kinda sad right now, 'cause if one looks around they'll find that the "misguided, ignorant" comments of this thread are indicative of other discussions -- most of them about publishers that went out of business rather quickly.

    Filigree's Rule and all, yes, but it still feels bad to watch it in action.
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  20. #20
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruffbear7 View Post
    In other words, Kellan is still a little shy of being a fully professional operation and that is not good for an author like me who is producing literary works. Kellan is fine for romance novelists and other genres.
    Are you implying that "romance novelists and other genres" don't need/deserve as much professional conduct from publishers as writers of literary fiction?
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  21. #21
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruffbear7 View Post
    I have no idea what people are talking about avoiding publishers who want authors to do marketing. Book tours have been around for almost 200 years.
    Asking authors to promote their books is one thing; making them responsible for marketing to the extent where they're responsible for almost every sale is quite another.

    Kellan is a one-person operation, someone interested in trying to build a community of writers who only have Kellan Publishing in common. It is no different than Dreamspinner Press and many other small publishers in that regard.
    I'm quite sure that Dreamspinner and other successful small presses aren't one-person operations.

    The pettiness in this thread is just unbelievable. Why would an author not want to help other authors at the same publisher?
    Because they're too busy writing their next book, assuming they can spare the time from marketing their current book?

    The person running the show knows she is not the keenest editor, as is obvious from the errors on the website.
    Wait a minute - owner Kelli Ballard knows she has sub-par editing skills...yet she provides editing?

    She also has a full-time job on top of this, just like a lot of writers.
    There's a huge difference between being a writer with a full-time job and being a publisher, responsible for the intellectual property of others, with a full-time job. Lurking behind those greyed-out names on AW's list of publishers are some horror stories about what happened when one-person hobbyist publishers were overwhelmed by personal/financial problems. They went under, taking their authors' books with them.

    She relies on authors like me who do not need editing.
    Is there such a thing as an author who doesn't need editing? Novice writers in the grip of Golden Word Syndrome are exactly the sort of people likely to be attracted by Kellan. A firm grasp of spelling and grammar doesn't automatically confer the ability to write readable prose.

    She must be doing something right because authors go back to her to publish again and again.
    Authors go back to dreadful vanity presses like America Star (formerly PublishAmerica) and Tate again and again.

    In other words, Kellan is still a little shy of being a fully professional operation and that is not good for an author like me who is producing literary works. Kellan is fine for romance novelists and other genres.
    I don't write romance - I don't even read romance - but I find that statement incredibly patronising. And are you the 'Bear' whose book is described on the cover as 'a science fiction novel'?
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 11-26-2015 at 04:36 PM.

  22. #22
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Aliceshortcake addressed many of the things I was going to.

    I'm sorry you found our comments misguided and petty. Mine weren't aimed at Kellan specifically or at its owner, but at its model. I think this approach fails authors more often than it works for them.

    Many, many of us (myself included) have had books with publishers similar to Kellan and have had the same discouraging experiences you have had. Others of us (not myself) work in publishing as their breadwinning income, either as authors or as marketers, agents, publishers, etc. So it's not ignorance, but my experience and theirs that tell me a publisher like Kellan is not right for me. I don't do well the things it would take to make this model work.

    You haven't mentioned your sales (and you are by no means obligated to, that's your private business) but mine, with two different publishers both of which operate on the "author as marketer model" Keller uses, were abysmal. And these houses had staff of dozens.

    I spend over a year getting a book as good as I can make it. Why would I have an overpriced book "that does not look like a traditional trade paperback" published by someone who "isn't the keenest editor" and "a little shy of being a professional operation," and who will ask me to do even more work (that I'm not good at and other publishers would do for me) just to have this book not get into book stores while I talk up other people's books? Been there. Not doing it again.
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  23. #23
    Fuelled by tea and crumpets. Anna_Hedley's Avatar
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    Dreamspinner is definitely not a one-person operation, nor are other successful romance presses. It has, among other things, an editing department. Four separate editors looked over my last manuscript and were overseen by a senior editor throughout the process. Someone who is not a professional editor shouldn't be editing a manuscript at all, and it's worrisome that Kellan Press has only one person to shoulder the burdens of marketing and editing. Particularly without any expertise in either field.
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  24. #24
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Have fun with Kellan, Ruffbear. I also picked a brand new publisher this year, but only after researching them and verifying their formidable skills. I would *never* pick a publisher who didn't have the chops, capital, and staff to make the best effort possible. They could still fail, too. As far as Kellan, I am just going to hang back and watch the usual mistakes lead to the usual outcomes.

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  25. #25
    Christine Tripp ctripp's Avatar
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    From the description of what Kellan doesn't do, I'm not clear what they DO do to earn 50% and their costs. I would not be too impressed that a publisher paid a small amount of money for 2 stock images because that would be considered one of the costs that would just be deducted from your share of royalties.
    I can't see how this is better then indie publishing, doing all the work but keeping any profits?

    This has confused me totally.
    The Publishing contract says this...

    However, no payment is made up front as we are not ‘buying’ the story as we do for the works that fall under a writer’s contract.
    which would IMPLY they pay for the all rights purchase in the Writing Contract but then the Writing contract says...

    No payments are made up front

    Last edited by ctripp; 11-28-2015 at 06:53 PM.

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