This one: http://www.cityowlpress.com/
I haven't found anything in the INDEX board, but I was wondering if anyone has any experience with publishing with them?
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My response, as always, for outfits with this business model: "Define 'net.'"
And then there's this, under their "Anthology/Box Set Guidelines":
A comprehensive set of marketing packages are available to fit any budget. Some examples of places we advertise include: Fussy Librarian, eReader News Today, Book Barbarian, The Naughty List, etc. Contact us for a full list of available promo packages.
I'm put off by something another AW person noted on Twitter: "Open to all heat levels, except erotica." That doesn't even make sense.
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FYI, one of the owners is an AbsoluteWrite member. I've linked her to this thread.
so, you mean there should be a definition about "net"? And I don't understand the anthology/box set guidelines that you quoted...?
...not sure if my explanation made sense lol
I'd like to learn the most I can about this publishing press since it seems really interesting - I just thought it strange there was no thread on AW yet since it seems to have been around for some time
Of course that is based on your interpretation, which differs from what my best guess was, and may also differ from what the publisher actually intended.
With any publisher, you should know why you're submitting to them at this point. Especially with smaller publishers, there should be something they can offer you. Remember that you're giving them your book and the majority of profits on it.
Always aim high. Start at the top because you never know who will love your book. Then move down to the next best place. The further down you go the harder it will be to find something the publisher can really offer, and I'd suggest if you start running out of pluses altogether it's a good time to re-evaluate, maybe revise a bit.
There may be some solid reasons to submit to this place. The 'net' thing is a potential problem point, especially at 25%. Remember that they're then taking 75% of your book's gross income to start. That isn't enough to cover expenses? I'd want more faith in being able to sell the book in quantity if this was my first choice publisher. If I'd already gone through my first (and second) choice places, I might consider more of a gamble (which is what paying on net is) depending on where I thought the book was at and so on.
The thing with the anthologies is that they're offering marketing packages, not that they're publishing the anthologies. The publisher should be doing the marketing, or it should say very clearly it doesn't do any. It's a conflict of interest to offer marketing services for a fee because, again, it's a disincentive for the publisher to actually sell your book. Better for them if you buy a marked-up marketing package.
Always look at how the money is flowing. If you start to see eddies forming, consider not diving in head first.
Sometimes "net" is calculated on income. More often, with small, under-capitalized publishers, it's calculated on profit. Here's a Writer Beware column on the difference.
The anthology/box quote says that they have marketing packages available. "Packages" generally = you, the writer, pay for your own marketing.
The box-set guidelines suggest that there are different marketing packages available to the publisher's authors, and that they will have to pay to access these marketing packages. If that's the case then this is a vanity publisher, and therefore to be avoided.
Thank you to Para for linking me to the thread. And Hi Maryn! Miss you. Good to see Purgies here. I’m a long time poster on AW, but I’ve created this profile to appropriately address the concerns of writers toward the company. Let me take these one at a time.
“Net” is classified for us as: net income or net sales proceeds--the money received for the book (list price less any discounts or commissions charged by retailers, wholesalers, and/or distributors). It is a common practice for small presses, and more information can be seen on Writers Beware site here: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2011/0...royalties.html
We do not publish erotica or erotic romance, the former is often seen as a different genre from romance where the latter is a subgenre of romance. While we enjoy these forms of fiction in our reading, we do not publish them. Some romance books are on the steamier side so we take heat levels from sweet/closed door to descriptive. And I do agree, sometimes the genre lines crossover, and it can be difficult to tell when a book falls over the proverbial erotic cliff. But, if an author is marketing as an “Erotica Author” or “Erotic Romance Author,” primarily where the sex is the main focus of the book, or in romance the sexual nature of the relationship is the main focus; then, we’re probably not the right publisher for you. If the guidelines seem confusing on our site, I’m happy to change them to make it clear. What do you think would be a better wording?
The anthology / box sets are a different contract with different guidelines from our standard contract. It came about as my involvement as an author in a prior set that experienced some problems with the publisher we used for that set. Quite simply, I was asked by several author groups if City Owl Press would be willing to support anthology / box sets they put out. This part of the business is the same model as Excessica and features the following…
10% of net income for formatting, distribution, and management of royalties, taxes, and payment.
Why do we do this as opposed to a standard contract? Here’s why…
STANDARD CONTRACT SAMPLE
Let us say the box set makes $1500 in net income. Under our standard contract, City Owl Press would receive 60% and pay for all expenses including cover design, formatting, editing, ad campaign, distribution, etc. as with any other book.
So, 60% of $1500 leaves the authors with $600 to split in royalties divided by the number of authors. If ten authors make up the set, it leaves $60 per author.
ANTHOLOGY CONTRACT SAMPLE
Now under the anthology contract let’s take the same $1500. This time City Owl Press only takes 10% for the services described above.
So, 10% of $1500 leaves the authors with $1350 to split. If they wanted the most expensive ad campaign which is $305 for 2016 (this is AT COST plus a small admin fee which for this package is $4), they’d split the cost among the total number of authors. $1350 - $305 = $1045 to split. Again if ten authors make up the set, it leaves $104.50 per author.
Our Anthology /Box set model is common in the world of romance authors in particular, and it is typically used by authors who already have a group together ready to publish. It is sometimes called a “hybrid publishing model” or “partnership publishing model”. It is not vanity publishing and the authors do not pay us a fee to publish. Now, we could offer a standard contract for an anthology, which is our main traditional publishing model, but it is not something these author groups want or need. They need a company to handle the accounting side, distribution, taxes, and formatting (although some groups don’t even need this). We offer the marketing packages to make it easier for them as well.
In no way are we attempting to dupe authors out of their money or present ourselves as a vanity publisher. Our company was created by authors for authors. We are also savvy business men and women with many years of experience. City Owl Press, however, is a new company so I do understand the concerns and welcome the opportunity to discuss them. We are very transparent in all of our activities and I’m happy to answer questions. I will also add to our FAQs on our website.
Last edited by City Owl Press; 11-26-2015 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Changing wording from "graphic" to "descriptive" in response to post.
Hi there. Thanks for the info. But I must confess that your acceptance of hot graphic sex in romance, but not erotic romance just confuses me even more.
I have published romance with no sex, with a little sex but not much narrative focus/meaning to it, with a little sex and a lot of focus on it, and with a lot of sex. I have been doing this for several decades. But I have never heard of romance with any significant amount of sex in it being seen as clearly not erotic romance unless that sex depicted was non-erotic (e.g. abusive). If people falling in love have sex it tends to have some narrative significance in the romance thus "erotic romance" (?).
Whatever the publisher wants is what they should get, but I think you need a clearer way of describing the kind of sexual content you do/don't want to see i your romance submissions in specific and objective terms. i.e. what separates sexually graphic erotic romance from sexually graphic romance.
Well that's quite true Veinglory so it does seem to be a grey area without clear boundaries. I believe Sylvia Day explains it best: http://www.sylviaday.com/extras/erotic-romance/
If an author is unsure and wants to submit to us, I'd encourage them to do so.
It might help if you link to that essay. It is one possible way of separating the categories but far from a universal one. By those category definitions most of my work published as erotic romance by erotic romance publishers... isn't. In fact I don't think I have written a single erotic romance by that definition. Flux Orit would be almost the reverse, sexual attraction is a major obstacle to a committed relationship forming.
Hi Stormowl. It would depend what price the book were selling for and the actual profit after distributor cost. You can see here a list of publishers and their royalty rates here: http://brendahiatt.com/show-me-the-m...lisher-survey/
For ebooks: NY tends to favor 25% on net. Although, I've seen contracts that also offered 15% on gross. But, small presses tend to be around 40% on net. In this case, you typically have a better royalty rate with the small press; however, NY also tends to mark their ebooks at a higher price. Which sells more? It depends. So, what I'm saying is that it's all relative and based on your career goals.
If you want to go for a NY publisher; then, you should query. If you've went that route and were not happy for whatever reason, or if you'd prefer a small press; then, legitimate small presses should be your goal. And if you receive a contract from any publisher my advice would be to ask a lot of questions, have a lawyer review the contract (if possible), and talk to that publisher's authors.
I do not suggest that you get a lawyer to review your contract. Even the most specialist IP lawyers will usually only point out problematic clauses in the contract: they won't negotiate a contract for you; they won't look for subsidiary rights sales for your book; they won't find the best publisher for your books, or make sure you're with the best editors there. You need a good literary agent for all of those things.
As for what makes a small press legitimate, there are a number of points to consider. Does the publisher have a history of strong sales and good reviews? Do the people behind the press have years of experience in trade publishing, working at successful, well-regarded publishers? Do they have good enough connections to hire in people with expertise? Are they appropriately financed, so they can pay those expert editors, designers and so on? It can take months or even years to start earning money from a new imprint: how is the press going to support itself over that time?
A real red flag for City Owl is, in my opinion, the issue with them selling marketing packages to their authors. As soon as a press starts charging its authors for doing anything the publisher should do itself, that press is a problem. It's a vanity press. It implies that they don't have the understanding of publishing to do a proper job, and they don't have the finances to do one either.
It's always a good idea to let new presses bed themselves in before submitting to them. Give them a year or two to establish themselves, and work out what they're doing. See how their sales are after a few years, and then you'll have enough information to know whether you want to let them get their hands on your work.
What I personally have seen* with smaller publishers and many e-pubs (, not the big name ones,) is that "Net" usually means "revenue - publisher costs". And unless publisher cost is set in stone, it may happen that an author will not get anything no matter how many books they sell. So, I think any publisher needs to clearly define what net means - in every contract.
*This is my personal experience, of what I have seen reported. It may not be what someone has experience with happening with a publisher, but from what I see it is pretty standard.
Last edited by Weirdmage; 11-28-2015 at 06:38 AM.
Gross is the other accounting type. I've seen it rarely. I've also seen "list price" iin contracts, but not recently.
Net is clearly defined in our contract and described as I mentioned in my above post. There is no "publisher cost" associated with it for us. It is calculated exactly on what we receive from our distributors.
You've seen other small presses put "publisher's cost" into their definition of net? If so, I'd highly advise any author to stay away from those contracts.
I don't think I could explain any new information as I've already given numbers above. I'm sorry you feel it's a red flag.
I'll just add the following and step back unless there are more questions. Our authors from the anthologies are established romance authors looking for this particular model. We were approached by several of these authors and asked if we would provide this service as an alternative to another specific publisher who works on this model for anthologies. We're happy to provide this for these authors.
Quite frankly, as I've shown with the numbers above, it would be much more to the company's benefit to put these sets on our standard contract, but that wouldn't be what's best for the authors and not what they want. So, in the end, we're working in the best interests of our authors. If that's viewed as a red flag by people not happy with the model, so be it. It's disheartening, but I have to stick with what's in our authors best interest.
I'll be glad to field more questions, if anyone has additional concerns.
I have worked in trade publishing for over thirty years. In that time I have worked for most of the big publishers and a whole load of smaller ones, I have worked with many literary agents, been involved with many writers' conferences and festivals, and spent a lot of time advising publishers on best practice, and advising writers against scams.
In all that time I have never encountered a setup where it was in the writers' best interests to pay for things their publishers should be paying for.
After researching, I submitted to City Owl. They were very professional and gave me helpful feedback.