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Thread: Pro Se Productions / Pro Se Press

  1. #1
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Pro Se Productions / Pro Se Press

    Based in Batesville, Arkansas, Pro Se Productions is a leading independent Publisher on the cutting edge of New Pulp and Genre Fiction today.

    Genre Fiction, particularly that written in the Pulp Style, is known by many names. Fiction featuring action and adventure, fast paced, larger than life protagonists and antagonists, over the top characters and tight, yet extravagant plots, is experiencing a resurgence like never before. And Pro Se , publishing New Pulp and Genre Fiction since April, 2010, is a major modern force in the revival!

    Pro Se is the place to find Super Heroes, Explorers, Fairies, Werewolves, Men's Men, Femme Fatales and more. If you're a fan of Westerns, Romances, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Hard Core Crime, and any other Genre available, Pro Se has what you want to read. Specializing in prose books, anthologies, magazines, audiobooks, and more, Pro Se has made a commitment to 'Put the Monthly Back into Pulp' and continues to do that successfully, producing at least one new work every month!
    http://prose-press.com/about/
    Although a couple of Amazon reviews mention poor proof-reading, Pro Se's books look professional and many of them have glorious retro-style covers. Pro Se is closed for submissions until 1st January 2016 but has an open call for anthologies.

    WHAT DOES PRO SE PAY?
    Pro Se Productions is a royalty paying Publisher. Each author for Pro Se earns a royalty on every dollar made from the sale of books he/she is a part of. The royalty percentage is negotiated with each writer and/or per project.
    http://prose-press.com/submission-guidelines/
    "There is only one thing worse than being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass, and that is being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass near an ant colony"
    Oscar Wilde (citation needed)

  2. #2
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    I don't like that royalties are individually negotiated. I'd rather know up front.

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  3. #3
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    I know several local authors who are published with Pro Se and they seem happy, but they (the authors) are most small press folk and may have different publication goals.

    The books look good in person though and they work pretty hard to acquire licensing for older franchises to broaden their anthology and novel releases. (I.e. Soliciting new work for old, pulp characters.)
    _________
    A.G.C.

    OF LIPS AND TONGUE
    "Don't pick it up if you have important things to do today."
    "...the story itself is a masterpiece of horror, paranoia, love, and introduces a startling heroine that people should flock to."
    "If you like dark, unsettling, gorgeous Southern Gothic books with a taste of Southern Fried X-Files, this novella might be your cuppa."
    OF SHADE AND SOUL: Available now!


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  4. #4
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    I see they have a line of fiction about Flare the comic book hero chick from Heroic Publishing.
    Stories for the FLARE Anthology must be 10,000 words in length and must adhere to the continuity established for Flare by Heroic Publishing.

    I used to love their stuff back around say 1990. Flare. The Tigress. Boy this brings back memories. Like watching eighties action sci-fi flicks with the synthesizer soundtracks. Really makes me goofy and relaxed. So that's an automatic plus for me. All hail Flare the Shining Goddess of Light!
    Last edited by Re-modernist; 11-08-2015 at 07:01 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    I don't like that royalties are individually negotiated. I'd rather know up front.
    It's pretty common for the terms in a contract to be negotiable. I can definitely understand if that's your perspective (wanting to know what the terms are ahead of time), but it seems like a fairly standard thing that would exclude a lot of publishers from your consideration list.

  6. #6
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Round Two View Post
    It's pretty common for the terms in a contract to be negotiable. I can definitely understand if that's your perspective (wanting to know what the terms are ahead of time), but it seems like a fairly standard thing that would exclude a lot of publishers from your consideration list.
    Personally, I prefer when a publisher states a minimum royalty rate that can then be negotiated higher on a case by case basis. When no minimum is given it's hard to know what to expect (and gauge if you are receiving a really low ball offer or a decent rate).
    _________
    A.G.C.

    OF LIPS AND TONGUE
    "Don't pick it up if you have important things to do today."
    "...the story itself is a masterpiece of horror, paranoia, love, and introduces a startling heroine that people should flock to."
    "If you like dark, unsettling, gorgeous Southern Gothic books with a taste of Southern Fried X-Files, this novella might be your cuppa."
    OF SHADE AND SOUL: Available now!


    A.G. Carpenter
    @Aggy_C

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aggy B. View Post
    Personally, I prefer when a publisher states a minimum royalty rate that can then be negotiated higher on a case by case basis. When no minimum is given it's hard to know what to expect (and gauge if you are receiving a really low ball offer or a decent rate).
    Though I realize Pro Se isn't exactly a huge publisher, it's not like Random House is putting royalty rates out for public scrutiny, and I'm not sure why it should be expected of a smaller house. The contract is a negotiable document and setting out any baselines seems counter-intuitive to the interests of the publisher.

  8. #8
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    Random House and other Big 5 pubs operate on fairly known rates though. (8.5% for print, 20%-ish for eBook, plus certain minimum advances.) Certain magazines offer a higher pay rate to more established authors, but also clearly state their minimum rate of pay.

    It's not something that would necessarily keep me from submitting, but I can understand where some folks might be hesitant about the idea that everything is negotiated with no guaranteed bottom rate. I've seen small pubs offer "competitive royalties" that when you actually look at what they are offering are anything but.

    Like I said, I know authors who seem quite happy with Pro Se so I'm fairly certain their rates are good, but I can't say for certain because they aren't making their boilerplate terms readily available.
    _________
    A.G.C.

    OF LIPS AND TONGUE
    "Don't pick it up if you have important things to do today."
    "...the story itself is a masterpiece of horror, paranoia, love, and introduces a startling heroine that people should flock to."
    "If you like dark, unsettling, gorgeous Southern Gothic books with a taste of Southern Fried X-Files, this novella might be your cuppa."
    OF SHADE AND SOUL: Available now!


    A.G. Carpenter
    @Aggy_C

  9. #9
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Seconding everything Round Two has said in this thread about royalties. I don't see it as a problem. Although I do understand why writers would like to know in advance, I don't think it's a red flag.

  10. #10
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Seconding everything Round Two has said in this thread about royalties. I don't see it as a problem. Although I do understand why writers would like to know in advance, I don't think it's a red flag.
    Not a red flag. But when I put together my submissions list factors like "better royalties" (along with "responsive", "good editing", etc) will put a publisher at the top of my list. If I don't know what their royalties are they are likely to go further down the list. And I'm not sure why a publisher wouldn't say " Royalties start at x% and may be negotiated." But that's just me.

    So, for me it's not a question of "This sounds like a scam!", but simply that if I have no idea what a publisher pays I'm less likely to put them in my first submission round unless the other factors I look at are that much higher.
    _________
    A.G.C.

    OF LIPS AND TONGUE
    "Don't pick it up if you have important things to do today."
    "...the story itself is a masterpiece of horror, paranoia, love, and introduces a startling heroine that people should flock to."
    "If you like dark, unsettling, gorgeous Southern Gothic books with a taste of Southern Fried X-Files, this novella might be your cuppa."
    OF SHADE AND SOUL: Available now!


    A.G. Carpenter
    @Aggy_C

  11. #11
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Publishers often don't announce what royalties they pay because it can vary from book to book, or imprint to imprint. Some writers negotiate a much better rate than others; some books are going to raise more money than others and be cheaper to publish. And if one writer gets 5% then finds out another was paid 7.5%, that 5% writer might well kick up a fuss. So why complicate things by telling people what you pay, when it can be so very variable and cause problems elsewhere?

  12. #12
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
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    I actually write for Pro Se Press, so I'll try to address some of the questions.

    No, I'm not making tons of money on these projects - they focus primarily on short story anthologies and novellas (my longest work for them was 30K). They've licensed some older material and they also work with public domain characters. Sure, I could do the public domain characters myself (if I was so inclined), but since Pro Se has a good reputation in the "New Pulp" field (and it is a thriving but very niche market), it's easier to get people to pick up the book if it's from one of the known pulp publishers.

    I've liked most of my covers (no writer's going to love all of them) and I've liked most of my editors (re: covers).

    The only problem I've had with Pro Se, (and I've talked to Tommy Hancock, the publisher, about this), is he sometimes takes on too many projects and some books may get buried with all the other releases from the more popular writers. I'd be happier if he released a few less books a year and focused on promoting all of the releases beyond the initial announcements. So, if you have a book from them, it's likely to do well for the first couple of months, but fade rapidly as the next wave of books comes out, unless you're out beating the bushes to keep interest high.

    So, yeah, not a press for everyone, but it's one of the few places still doing pulp material, if you're interested in that field.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Publishers often don't announce what royalties they pay because it can vary from book to book, or imprint to imprint. Some writers negotiate a much better rate than others; some books are going to raise more money than others and be cheaper to publish. And if one writer gets 5% then finds out another was paid 7.5%, that 5% writer might well kick up a fuss. So why complicate things by telling people what you pay, when it can be so very variable and cause problems elsewhere?
    That was my point, too, though you did a better job of articulating.

  14. #14
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Publishers often don't announce what royalties they pay because it can vary from book to book, or imprint to imprint. Some writers negotiate a much better rate than others; some books are going to raise more money than others and be cheaper to publish. And if one writer gets 5% then finds out another was paid 7.5%, that 5% writer might well kick up a fuss. So why complicate things by telling people what you pay, when it can be so very variable and cause problems elsewhere?
    But surely there's a minimum rate per publisher/imprint regardless of whether individual books are negotiated higher than that. All other things being equal, if I know Publisher X always offers at least 5% and Publisher Y always offers at least 6%, I will submit to Publisher Y first. I don't need to know what the royalties on every book are, just what their bottom threshold is. If I don't know that (because this does amount to not knowing what a publisher pays), I will tend to put them at the bottom of my submission list.

    This is more important with small presses who may or may not be approved by the various professional associations (like SFWA) that would let me know that Publisher X offers industry standard terms.

    If other folks are not as concerned with potential revenues from a book then obviously this won't bother them. (I am, so it's a point of concern. But not a "Don't submit here," point of concern.)
    _________
    A.G.C.

    OF LIPS AND TONGUE
    "Don't pick it up if you have important things to do today."
    "...the story itself is a masterpiece of horror, paranoia, love, and introduces a startling heroine that people should flock to."
    "If you like dark, unsettling, gorgeous Southern Gothic books with a taste of Southern Fried X-Files, this novella might be your cuppa."
    OF SHADE AND SOUL: Available now!


    A.G. Carpenter
    @Aggy_C

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aggy B. View Post
    But surely there's a minimum rate per publisher/imprint regardless of whether individual books are negotiated higher than that. All other things being equal, if I know Publisher X always offers at least 5% and Publisher Y always offers at least 6%, I will submit to Publisher Y first. I don't need to know what the royalties on every book are, just what their bottom threshold is. If I don't know that (because this does amount to not knowing what a publisher pays), I will tend to put them at the bottom of my submission list.

    This is more important with small presses who may or may not be approved by the various professional associations (like SFWA) that would let me know that Publisher X offers industry standard terms.

    If other folks are not as concerned with potential revenues from a book then obviously this won't bother them. (I am, so it's a point of concern. But not a "Don't submit here," point of concern.)
    The problem is that as soon as you offer a specific royalty rate as the bottom AND the person you are negotiating with KNOWS that the royalty rate is negotiable, why would they (the author) ever settle for the bottom? You'd then get a new defacto bottom tier (because nobody would settle for the publicized minimum) and the cycle, it seems, would repeat. I guess I just don't know why any publisher would make the terms of their contract that publicly available (on their own). I understand with a short story market that doesn't negotiate, where the contract is, ostensibly, much simpler. But for novels? Or larger works? It doesn't make sense. YMMV

  16. #16
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aggy B. View Post
    But surely there's a minimum rate per publisher/imprint regardless of whether individual books are negotiated higher than that.
    No. Often, there isn't that minimum royalty rate you're looking for.

    Different editors at the same house might have different boilerplate contracts. Different sorts of books might have different royalties. The length of a book might affect the royalty paid.

    If a publisher pays 3% on some books and 7% on others, and quotes that 3% as its base rate, then that would probably put you off submitting to them--even if your books were the kinds that would attract a royalty at the higher end.

    This focus on royalty rate isn't necessarily helpful for writers. Royalty rates aren't necessarily the most important factor in considering a contract. Would you rather have a contract with a publisher which paid 50% royalty or 7%? OK, how about if the 50% is on net, and net allows for the publisher to cover all sorts of unspecified costs before paying you? What about a publisher which routinely pays 12% but only sells about twelve copies of its books? Would you rather go with them than with a publisher which usually sold a few thousand copies, but paid a smaller royalty?

    Pulling out one component of a contract is not really helpful. It doesn't let you see the big picture.

  17. #17
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    So, all of these things are important. I think perhaps I confused folks because I mentioned the royalties specifically, but I'll bet if Tommy Hancock came into this thread one of the first things y'all would ask is "What do you pay your authors?" Followed by "How is that payment calculated?" (Also: What is the length of your contract? What does your distribution look like? And so on.) I've learned to be concerned about these things from reading the countless threads here. It puzzles me that y'all are acting like it's not a valid concern to want to know what and how and when a publisher pays its authors.

    Pro Se is not particularly my ball of wax at the moment, but if I were thinking about subbing there I would be writing to ask about their terms first. (I did that with a small press last year. The terms they were proposing were not good - tiny advance and royalties paid out only after production costs were met. I told them I couldn't sub there if that was their contract. And they changed it to something much more author friendly.) Because contract terms are important. And, with a small press in particular, I want to know what they offer before I take the time to put together a submission package.

    A publisher that won't put their basic terms in their submission guidelines is making more work for me. Thus, they don't go at the top of my list.
    _________
    A.G.C.

    OF LIPS AND TONGUE
    "Don't pick it up if you have important things to do today."
    "...the story itself is a masterpiece of horror, paranoia, love, and introduces a startling heroine that people should flock to."
    "If you like dark, unsettling, gorgeous Southern Gothic books with a taste of Southern Fried X-Files, this novella might be your cuppa."
    OF SHADE AND SOUL: Available now!


    A.G. Carpenter
    @Aggy_C

  18. #18
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
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    Short novels (30K) - two years

    Short stories and anthologies - one year

    They pay royalties based on cover price minus what the various distributors take (aka, if your book sells through Amazon, you get your royalty based on the money Pro Se receives from Amazon after Amazon takes their cut.)

    They don't do advances.

    They don't publish single stories over 30K unless you're one of their bigger authors and even those are rare.

    (Note: I am not speaking on behalf of Pro Se. I am merely reporting MY experiences with them, direct conversations I've had with Tommy Hancock via Facebook Messenger, and my experiences of following the company through their FB posts.)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard White View Post
    Short novels (30K) - two years

    Short stories and anthologies - one year

    They pay royalties based on cover price minus what the various distributors take (aka, if your book sells through Amazon, you get your royalty based on the money Pro Se receives from Amazon after Amazon takes their cut.)

    They don't do advances.

    They don't publish single stories over 30K unless you're one of their bigger authors and even those are rare.

    (Note: I am not speaking on behalf of Pro Se. I am merely reporting MY experiences with them, direct conversations I've had with Tommy Hancock via Facebook Messenger, and my experiences of following the company through their FB posts.)
    I'm confused. It doesn't sound like they're paying based on cover price at all and simply paying on NET receipts. Am I missing something?

  20. #20
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
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    Round Two> I'm not sure where the confusion comes from. I showed how they calculate what they base the royalties on. I didn't specifically say "They pay cover". Actually, they might IF they had their own store like some publisher do and cut out the middleman, but that's not something they've been interested in doing. I'm not quite sure how they figure royalties for books they sell at conventions - never got into that too deeply.

  21. #21
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard White View Post
    Short novels (30K) - two years

    Short stories and anthologies - one year

    They pay royalties based on cover price minus what the various distributors take (aka, if your book sells through Amazon, you get your royalty based on the money Pro Se receives from Amazon after Amazon takes their cut.)

    They don't do advances.

    They don't publish single stories over 30K unless you're one of their bigger authors and even those are rare.

    (Note: I am not speaking on behalf of Pro Se. I am merely reporting MY experiences with them, direct conversations I've had with Tommy Hancock via Facebook Messenger, and my experiences of following the company through their FB posts.)
    Thank you. That's helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Round Two View Post
    I'm confused. It doesn't sound like they're paying based on cover price at all and simply paying on NET receipts. Am I missing something?
    Cover price is technically different than list price. It depends on how the contract is worded. (Cover price might be $4 and list price might be $2 for a promotion. Depending on how your contract reads each sale would still count as a $4 sale so the royalties would remain the same per sale.) And it would effect the total amount calculated even if the vendor fees are being deducted.

    But, sometimes folks say cover price and mean list price.
    _________
    A.G.C.

    OF LIPS AND TONGUE
    "Don't pick it up if you have important things to do today."
    "...the story itself is a masterpiece of horror, paranoia, love, and introduces a startling heroine that people should flock to."
    "If you like dark, unsettling, gorgeous Southern Gothic books with a taste of Southern Fried X-Files, this novella might be your cuppa."
    OF SHADE AND SOUL: Available now!


    A.G. Carpenter
    @Aggy_C

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard White View Post
    Round Two> I'm not sure where the confusion comes from. I showed how they calculate what they base the royalties on. I didn't specifically say "They pay cover". Actually, they might IF they had their own store like some publisher do and cut out the middleman, but that's not something they've been interested in doing. I'm not quite sure how they figure royalties for books they sell at conventions - never got into that too deeply.
    You said "They pay royalties based on cover price"

    But, from your explanation above, they are paying based on the actual monies received from the vendor (Cover price - vendor discount).

    Is there something I'm missing?

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    A couple of thoughts about this publisher for folks who are considering working with them (and for the publisher himself, if he happens upon this thread) ...

    I came across one of their print books in a bookstore (local author consignment scenario). The quality of the book is not bad, the cover is pretty cool if you're into this kind of thing, but there are some layout problems. It is a collection of stories, and the title page for each story is not consistent throughout the book - for example, on a few stories, it is centered on the right side page before the story starts on the next right-side page (this looks nice). For other stories, the title is at the top of the left side page with a blank page on the right, and the story starts at the top of the next left-side page. This does not look right, and it jumps out at the reader. At one point, there is a blank page in the middle of a story for no apparent reason. If I spent more time with the book I could probably point out some other specific issues.

    I also notice that the listings for their books on Amazon show CreateSpace as the publisher. I know there are a lot of small pubs who print through CreateSpace, but as far as I know they can still list themselves as the publisher. I would recommend to *any* publisher to remove all references to CreateSpace whenever possible. If a bookstore is considering buying a book and they check the Amazon listing for reviews etc, seeing CreateSpace as the publisher is most likely a deal-breaker. I don't get the sense that bookstore placement is their main priority, but if they are aiming for it, they should also improve their terms through Ingram etc (currently short discount, nonreturnable, lists CreateSpace as publisher).

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