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Thread: Alphar Publishing

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

    Alphar Publishing is a brand new company - currently in New Zealand - moving thier operation to California and this will begin thier first season with about 4-5 books. They will be utilizing Lulu (is that a four letter word?). The author does thier own editing and cover design - Alphar pays all fees and puts the final project together and does all the marketing and promoting. Word count preference is less than 100,000 (ouch!)

    I have asked them to give me a strong plan regarding brick and morter placement with a solid buy back guarantee in place. Waiting for a reply.

    The author may terminate contract at any time or publish simulaneously with other publishers. thus far - the editor has been very upfront with regard to all my questions and has provided very honest and direct answers.

    I think it is a good beginning for a rookie who's only other enterprise has been AuthorHouse - now be kind in your replies

  2. #2
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by straightshooter
    I think it is a good beginning for a rookie who's only other enterprise has been AuthorHouse - now be kind in your replies
    Why are you doing this to yourself?

    If you want to get your book published by Lulu, just go straight to http://www.lulu.com/

    Or you could always go to Cafepress.

    First-time authors are getting bought and published by major houses every day. First-time authors are getting major agents every day.

    If you want to have your book read, write it as well as you can and submit it to real publishers. Real publishers are the ones who really get books into real bookstores.

    Here's your assignment. Before you post here again, go to the nearest bookstore to your house. Find the shelf that has books most similar to yours. Open those books to their copyright pages. Write down the names and addresses of the publishers. Go back home. Write to every one of those publishers (include an SASE) requesting a copy of their guidelines.

    When you've done that, come back here and tell me you've done so.

    When you get the guidelines, follow them to the letter.

    Meanwhile, write a new, different, better book.

  3. #3
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Do you understand what Lulu is? They are a POD company that anyone can "publish" with, essentially at cost. The company that prints Lulu's books is Lightning Source, who you can also contract with directly. So, if you are set on POD, you would get more for your money by cutting out as many middle-men as possible. That is, go through Lulu yourself, or truly self-publish by contracting directly with Lightning Source.

    I seriously doubt you will receive a "strong plan regarding brick and morter placement with a solid buy back guarantee in place", since that's precluded by the very nature of POD.

    This all presumes you know what POD is, of course: http://sfwa.org/beware/printondemand.html
    ICAO
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  4. #4
    5 W's & an H Sassenach's Avatar
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    For the love of pete:::::::::



    Quote Originally Posted by straightshooter
    Alphar Publishing is a brand new company - currently in New Zealand - moving thier operation to California and this will begin thier first season with about 4-5 books.

    So their knowledge of, and connections in American publishing are...nil.

    I have asked them to give me a strong plan regarding brick and morter placement with a solid buy back guarantee in place. Waiting for a reply.

    Keep on waiting.

    The author may terminate contract at any time or publish simulaneously with other publishers.

    Doesn't that strike you as odd?

    I think it is a good beginning for a rookie who's only other enterprise has been AuthorHouse - now be kind in your replies.


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  5. #5
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Straightshooter, based on the fact that you asked everyone to be kind in their replies, I think you already know that people here will not see this as a wise decision.

    Why are you making this choice?

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    "Why are you doing this to yourself?

    Because if there is any chance that someone else will do the marketing.... I hate marketing !! So how can a publisher make any money at all if they don't put some serious effort into getting the thing out there??

    Because I can't get anyone reputable to give me a read. One guy actually stamped his rejection on to the bottom of my cover letter and sent it back in my SASE. He got the rejection of the week award.

    Because in the worst case senerio - If they do no real marketing - I can take the bloody thing back.

    But finally - yes - I will stop asking the group for thier blessing on "outside the box" and "newbie" enterprises. - I will send out submissions to the publishers similiar to my area - and I do really appreciate everyone's help.

    P.S. If you go to Lulu directly - do they place your book on the dot coms? Do they offer the author any other marketing?

    Additional comments welcome.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Tilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by straightshooter
    Because if there is any chance that someone else will do the marketing.... I hate marketing !! So how can a publisher make any money at all if they don't put some serious effort into getting the thing out there??
    POD presses make their money by selling books to the authors. They don't need to market to anyone else. Commercial publishers do market their books to the general public.

    Because I can't get anyone reputable to give me a read. One guy actually stamped his rejection on to the bottom of my cover letter and sent it back in my SASE. He got the rejection of the week award.
    It's not pleasant. I know. Some days I want to just stop. But if I want to get published in a way that will mean my work will get read (and to be honest, that's why I'm doing it), it's the only way. If you just want a bound printed copy of your book to hand sell to friends and aquaintences, then Lulu might be for you. If you want readers, shoot for the commercial publishing houses.

    Because in the worst case senerio - If they do no real marketing - I can take the bloody thing back.
    Worst case scenario, you've wasted time and money, and energy you could have used writing your next book.

    But finally - yes - I will stop asking the group for thier blessing on "outside the box" and "newbie" enterprises. - I will send out submissions to the publishers similiar to my area - and I do really appreciate everyone's help.
    POD companies have been around for a while. They've shown themselves to be ineffective at getting good books into the hands of readers who want them. None of these are think outside the box or new ideas. They're very old. Selling books to authors, vanity publishing, has been around a very long time.

    P.S. If you go to Lulu directly - do they place your book on the dot coms? Do they offer the author any other marketing?

    Additional comments welcome.
    I'm not sure if Lulu books are automatically on Amazon and the other online shops. But to be honest, it's irrelevant. Publish America (a really bad POD) books are on Amazon, B&N and other sites. The average number of books sold per author is, IIRC, 75.
    Last edited by Tilly; 04-27-2006 at 04:35 AM.

  8. #8
    figuring it all out RobCurtis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by straightshooter
    P.S. If you go to Lulu directly - do they place your book on the dot coms? Do they offer the author any other marketing?
    Lulu don't, but they recommend places that do: MARKETING

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    Here's your assignment. Before you post here again, go to the nearest bookstore to your house. Find the shelf that has books most similar to yours. Open those books to their copyright pages. Write down the names and addresses of the publishers. Go back home. Write to every one of those publishers (include an SASE) requesting a copy of their guidelines.
    I received this advice on a radio phone-in a couple of years ago. It's so blindingly obvious when someone tells you. It is the best advice to the "how do I find a publisher?" question.

  9. #9
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Sharpshooter, have you read the Index of this forum? It begins with two posts that provide 95% of everything a new writer needs to know. The remaining 5% can only be learned by implementing that 95%.

    Also, there are many other forums and sub-forums on this board, containing thousands of topics on writing and how to get published. The time you spend reading them now will save you much money and heartache later.
    ICAO
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  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thank you.

    I have been reading the links provided by your responses and I know there is a houseful of valuable info out there. The posts were motivated by these two contracts that I have been juggling around in my head for a while and really wanted some specific feedback.

    It really boils down to what the 'author' wants - what's the goal?? AND avoiding all the hidden surprises ( Authorhouse: selling 'Silent Epidemic' for $20.00 - that was a fiasco.) So thanks for everyone's help.

  11. #11
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tilly
    Worst case scenario, you've wasted time and money, and energy you could have used writing your next book.
    Time, money, energy, and first publication rights.

  12. #12
    Gone
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    Quote Originally Posted by straightshooter
    Because I can't get anyone reputable to give me a read.
    Friend, here is the hard truth: If you really can't get anyone reputable interested in your manuscript, either your work isn't ready to be published, or your querying skills need improvement. Spend your time writing a better book and crafting better query letters, not playing at being published by going with gormless POD middlemen.

    A lot of people here are out-of-the-box thinkers. It's not that we're thrown by unconventional plans. It's that we've seen these plans--which are never as revolutionary or brilliant as inexperienced authors think--fail again and again, and we can even tell you why they fail.

    I wish you luck, and I hope you'll respect yourself and your work enough not to jump at a bad idea like this in the hopes that it'll work out better for you than it has for the hundreds of thousands of other people who tried it.
    Winner of Uncle Jim's Whoo Hoo Super Writer Award and Nomad's Most Use of Vowels in a Screen Name Award as well as Maryn's Only Person on AW Whose Name Anagrams to "I, Octane," "Act I (One)" and "Nice tao" Award in addition to batgirl's Culpeper Award for Botanically Erudite Screen Name plus awatkins' AW's Most Creative Srounger [sic] of Rep Points Award not to mention azbikergirl's Arizona Most Awarded Writer Award and also Dawno's Most Interesting Signature Line Award

  13. #13
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by straightshooter
    Because if there is any chance that someone else will do the marketing.... I hate marketing !! So how can a publisher make any money at all if they don't put some serious effort into getting the thing out there??

    Because I can't get anyone reputable to give me a read. One guy actually stamped his rejection on to the bottom of my cover letter and sent it back in my SASE. He got the rejection of the week award.

    Because in the worst case senerio - If they do no real marketing - I can take the bloody thing back.

    But finally - yes - I will stop asking the group for thier blessing on "outside the box" and "newbie" enterprises. - I will send out submissions to the publishers similiar to my area - and I do really appreciate everyone's help.

    P.S. If you go to Lulu directly - do they place your book on the dot coms? Do they offer the author any other marketing?

    Additional comments welcome.
    Straightshooter,

    I'm not yet finished with my WIP novel (if I'll ever be with this one, lol), but I would listen to the others in this thread; most of them have way more experience than me in what works and what doesn't, and their advice seems spot on to me.

    If all you want is to see your name on a book, then by all means, go straight to lulu.com and don't go thru another party (which will add on expenses you don't really need). If you want your book commercially published, then I would skip POD; as others have said, they're not set up to have books in physical bookstores.

    It seems that you've shopped your novel around a bit. Is it possible (and I'm not trying to be flippant here) that your book isn't commercial enough? Or maybe there are problems with the plot or the characters or your grammar might be a bit suspect. Or maybe your query letter or synopsis isn't grabbing the agents (meh, I dread writing and re-writing those myself).

    Sometimes having fresh eyes look at your story will point out things you'd never think of in a million years. How about submitting a chapter to the Share Your Work forum here? The people on here are pretty gentle about what might be "wrong" with your story (all subjective, of course).

    I belong to an online crit group, and the suggestions I've received have been tremendous. Not all praise (which I would've been suspicious about), and they've given me suggestions on what might or might not work; truly amazing, insightful stuff. And I've critted back, so I see how others have handled things that I have problems with.

    So...think about that. Please, please, don't fall for this other stuff. Rewrite your story a hundred times if you have to, if that's what sells it to a legit big or small publisher or agent.

    And good luck!!!

    ~Nancy
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  14. #14
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobCurtis
    Lulu don't, but they recommend places that do: MARKETING
    This may be marketing, but it isn't book marketing.

    Bare-bones basic book marketing, as done by commercial publishers:

    - Catalogues that go to booksellers and libraries months in advance of publication.
    - A staff of sales representatives that sell the publisher's books directly into bookstores and libraries--again, months in advance of publication. (In order for bookstores and libraries to be interested, the publisher must price its books competitively, offer a standard discount--at least 40%--and make its books fully returnable.)
    - A distribution system that ensures that books arrive on bookstore shelves on the official publication date. Why are physical bookstores so important? Because most books are bought there. Less than 10% of all books are bought online.
    - Print ads, both pre- and post-publication.
    - National review attention via galleys sent to professional review venues (Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, Library Journal) in advance of publication. Booksellers and librarians read these reviews, and they influence buying decisions.

    If you've gotten a bigger advance or if the publisher decides to push your book, you may get more: wider advertising, promotion at book fairs, special displays for bookstores, a website, a book tour. Most authors don't get these things; but they all get the bare-bones marketing mentioned above.

    This is not book marketing:

    - A listing at online vendors such as Amazon. Anyone can get these, including self-published authors--plus, where a publisher uses POD, it's often part of the fulfillment package.
    - Press releases, flyers, book announcements, sell sheets, postcards. Magazines, newspapers, and booksellers are inundated with these, and are more likely to toss than to read them. They're among the least effective of all marketing strategies.
    - An email campaign. Even where these are targeted to appropriate people (and too often, they aren't), most recipients will regard this as spam.
    - Reviews in non-professional venues, such as many of the private review websites or the pay-to-play review sites like Bookwire or GetBookReviews.com.
    - Ads in proprietary publications (for instance, some POD companies will let you buy space in a catalog that's taken to book fairs). No one pays attention to these.

    Unfortunately, this is what's passed off as book marketing by many small publishers and POD vanities. It will do you little, if any, good in terms of building sales, gaining recognition, and obtaining bookstore presence.

    - Victoria

  15. #15
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Meanwhile, back to Alphar Publishing...folks've asked about them on a couple boards, but all I can find is a listing on WN:

    http://www.writers.net/publishers/profile.php?UID=45372
    ICAO
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  16. #16
    sue.abr
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    APHAR PUBLISHING

    Dear Straight Shooter: RE: ALPHAR PUBLISHING.

    Thank you for your kind and immaginative comments.

    But your source is not reliable:

    ALPHAR does not print or distribute or publish through lulu. How absurd.

    Yes, we do have a full returns policy with bookstores.

    We do provide an editing and cover design services, but we do encourage authors to participate on a cooperative basis.
    We are well experienced in the U.S. market place, and I am confident that our client authors are well satisfied with our service.

    We focus on literary fiction, but not your kind of fiction.

    Ah! We have done a search: You must be the guy who claimed to have a brilliant and huge huge manuscript . . . 300,000 words plus. Sorry if your huge thing felt rejected. We really do try hard to be of service to genuine authors. The 100,000 word limit was only a suggestion for an author so prone to faux.

    Sue Hoseit, Director of Marketing, Alphar Publishing.
    Your apologies may be sent to: alphar@xtra.co.nz

  17. #17
    5 W's & an H Sassenach's Avatar
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    Was Sue formerly at PA Author Support?
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  18. #18
    Sockpuppet Hunter MartyKay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassenach
    Was Sue formerly at PA Author Support?
    Bwahahahhahaha

    Hi Sue. You might never return, but if you do here's some reasons why people on this board might not be saying nice things about you.

    ALPHAR does not print or distribute or publish through lulu. How absurd.

    Why is it absurd? So you print your books on your own premises then? So are you saying you don't use any Print-on-demand services anywhere? Oh, and saying something is "absurd" has an implication that the person making the statement is an idiot.

    We do provide an editing and cover design services, but we do encourage authors to participate on a cooperative basis.

    "Encourage" or imply that without a payment they won't be getting it? Publishers pay for editing and cover designs.

    We are well experienced in the U.S. market place, and I am confident that our client authors are well satisfied with our service.

    Can you name some? Author, book, publication date? Thanks.

    We focus on literary fiction, but not your kind of fiction.

    Oooh, you PWNED him! Well done, that will teach someone to ask questions about your company!

    Ah! We have done a search: You must be the guy who claimed to have a brilliant and huge huge manuscript . . . 300,000 words plus. Sorry if your huge thing felt rejected. We really do try hard to be of service to genuine authors. The 100,000 word limit was only a suggestion for an author so prone to faux.

    If the author submitted a 300k epic even when your guidelines specifically said 100k maximum, then they've made a mistake. But is it a "limit" or a "suggestion"? "We really do try hard to be of service to genuine authors" -- are you trying to be this offensive? Or is it just a happy accident?

    Sue Hoseit, Director of Marketing, Alphar Publishing.
    Your apologies may be sent to: alphar@xtra.co.nz

    "Your apologies" -- who needs to apologise?

    Oh, and thanks for the name: are you Sue Hoseit the figure skater? Or Sue Hoseit the Pilates demonstrator (who also has an email account on xtra.co.nz where the first part is the SAME bit as your username here)? Is that the same Sue Hoseit? And is it the same one who also was the Sue Hoseit who taught Sports Marketing in 2002? If this is the same person, what experience in selling BOOKS do you have?

    Alphar publishing finds a hit on the PMA site: http://www.pma-online.org/scripts/sh...cfm?code=19544 - same email address, no website (sad), and .. a name of "Thomas Moore". No further info.
    Last edited by MartyKay; 05-15-2006 at 08:52 AM.
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  19. #19
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassenach
    Was Sue formerly at PA Author Support?
    Not to mention, she's dumping on the one person who had something positive to say about the publisher.

    A question for Sue, if she does return: So you don't use Lulu. Who do you use?

    - Victoria

  20. #20
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    My goodness. The publishing world is certainly full of some...interesting...people. (Yes, that speech disorder you're hearing is due to my tongue being firmly in cheek).
    Cameron Bane

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  21. #21
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyKay
    Alphar publishing finds a hit on the PMA site: http://www.pma-online.org/scripts/sh...cfm?code=19544 - same email address, no website (sad), and .. a name of "Thomas Moore". No further info.
    Aha! I wondered where people've been finding them. My Google Fu failed me.
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  22. #22
    Writting broad batgirl's Avatar
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    "our client authors"

    *poinnnggg* Was that a red flag popping up? Or a new linguistic marker?

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  23. #23
    Archi-craft
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    Get The Facts

    Alphar has a strong base in the U.S. Five of their books are literally on the road and being promoted IN PERSON right now across the U.S. I don't work for them, but am working on cover design for one of their books right now. This is a relatively new publishing company, but one with a fresh approach in this new publishing age. If they're not for you, they're not for you...but lets not knock a company when you don't know much about them. They are small which isn't always a bad thing. Sure, you can get picked up by a large publisher, but that doesn't mean that you will get ANY attention...book tours, press, marketing. As a small publidhing house, they give their authors a lot of attention.

  24. #24
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    We weren't knocking the company so much as they way their representative posted. If they do not use Lulu the misunderstanding would be easy to make as at least 2 of their titles have at some time been listed on Lulu.

    A constructive discussion could start with information about the printer used.... or exactly what is fresh about their approach? I see a clear identity in the books chosen that could be the start of an interesting niche publisher if the cover prices could be brought down below the $20 mark and some kind of distribution established?

    On a side note, I get attention from my dog--I want my publisher to get sales.
    Last edited by veinglory; 07-21-2006 at 06:06 AM.
    Emily Veinglory

  25. #25
    Been a long time... OneTeam OneDream's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archi-craft
    Alphar has a strong base in the U.S. Five of their books are literally on the road and being promoted IN PERSON right now across the U.S. I don't work for them, but am working on cover design for one of their books right now. This is a relatively new publishing company, but one with a fresh approach in this new publishing age. If they're not for you, they're not for you...but lets not knock a company when you don't know much about them. They are small which isn't always a bad thing. Sure, you can get picked up by a large publisher, but that doesn't mean that you will get ANY attention...book tours, press, marketing. As a small publidhing house, they give their authors a lot of attention.

    Say it slow with me folks......S O C K P U P P E T.

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