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Thread: Creators Publishing

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

    Hello all,

    I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself, first of all. I'm new here and was directed here by a writer friend of mine, but I don't know his handle here. I know he goes by DJ Cockburn on Facebook, if that helps anyone.

    I've been writing for about 26 years now. The first novel I began writing when I was about 22 years old. I wrote, and then edited that novel for 7 years! I finally self published it on Amazon under the title, "The Searing: Tale of a Child."

    https://www.amazon.ca/Searing-Tale-C...ale+of+a+child

    I went on to write two non-fiction books on advanced Soapmaking procedures many years later, though I wrote many other short stories in between.

    Most recently, I wrote a novel titled, "Finding Max," a memoir titled "Killing Douglas Grass: A Memoir of Love, Madness and Murder," and began writing two other books, "The Erentsea Chronicles" -- a YA/H/F novel and "Tribes and Tribulations," (working title) a post apocalyptic novel (kind of) about a pseudo-Canada set in the future where a Nazi-like party comes to power which uses the mentally ill like the Nazis used the Jews.

    "Finding Max" is the story of a young boy who is abducted at the age of 5 from a neighbourhood playground and who returns to his older brother's life 17 years later, after having lived a life of child prostitution and life on the streets of NYC. Max, his brother Gary and Gary's new girlfriend Jean must outwit and outrun the evil and perverse Quinn who wants to re-abduct Max for his own nefarious purposes.

    Finding Max is what concerns me now. I've been offered a book deal from Creators Publishing for the book, but I cannot find ANYTHING out about them except what their website says. They tell me they've been in business for over 30 years, but still there's no info about them. The contract looks pretty sweet in some ways, not so much in others. They're offering me a 50/50 royalty deal across the board -- on books sold, ebooks sold, film rights sold, etc.

    Does anyone have any info on them? And bad experiences? Any GOOD experiences (because they help me, too)?

    If you can give any info on them, I would be so very grateful. I don't want to get locked into a bad deal with my first book contract. You hear of so many bad experiences, and so few good experience (hey, we're not all JKR, are we?)

    Best,
    Magnus.

    This is the link to their website. It's the only info I can find on them...

    https://www.creators.com/

  2. #2
    Born at sea Clairels's Avatar
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    I don't have any personal experience with them, but Creators is one of the biggest media syndicates out there. They're the ones responsible for distributing comics (Archie, Heathcliff, Wizard of Id among others) and columns (Ann Landers, Annie's Mailbox, etc.) to newspapers all over the world.

    I didn't know they had a publishing arm, but it looks like what they've mainly put out are books from writers who have their work syndicated with them (including Hillary Clinton and Phyllis Schlafly, among many others). I'd say they are 100 percent legit.

    The Blue Line, short story published in Oakwood 2017
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  3. #3
    Behind the door of a small house.
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    Looking at their website, specifically their books, the production values look below market standard. And though one of their authors (Stefan Kanfer) seems to have had success with Big Five publishing, the books available on the Creators website also by Stefan Kanfer do not have nerely the same sales history (or production values). The same holds true for Linda Chavez, who, according to Bookscan has had success with some titles not published by Creators. Her Creators title, Political Folly has a sales ranking approaching 3,000,000 and no reviews for the only version that exists (a Kindle version selling for $2.99).

  4. #4
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    How many publishers have you approached? Have you considered going the agent route? I ask because it sounds to me like you are new to the publishing world and are diving headfirst instead of hanging back to check the lay of the land. I apologize if that's not the case.

    Creators does not seem like a good deal. Clairels pointed out Clinton's book, but that's not a deal Clinton had anything to do with--she wrote a syndicated column for Creators and, I believe, that means they might have the rights to her columns whether or not she cares to have them collected in book form for this publisher. As Round Two said, the books don't look great in terms of covers, the design really looking out-of-date. And 50/50 is a good deal only if the company is making sales, since 50/50 of nothing is still nothing. Just from what I see there, you'd probably be better off self-publishing this book rather than going with Creators.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Clairels, thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and research Creators in the mix. I wasn't so much wondering if they were legit, I was wondering more if anyone had had previous experiences with them and, if so, what those experiences were. Thanks, though, for weighing in on the situation. I appreciate it. Best, Magnus.

  6. #6
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    Hi Round Two, thanks so much for checking them out. I, too, agree with the fact that their book covers are terrible. They're promising me a lot of input into design and marketing/advertising solutions to the publishing and I plan on taking that chance for input. I've got a graphic designer I'm friends with who will charge me next to nothing to design a great cover for this book and the two sequels that I'm writing. I plan on using her to design the book covers instead of their indesign team -- who are obviously incapable of designing a book cover! I think that they believe that success will come through ebook sales, if that bears on the conversation. And I don't know what a sales ranking of 3,000,000 means. Is that terribly low? I don't know what a sales ranking that would be good would be. Could you possibly explain this any more to me? I would so appreciate that. I guess I'll check out Bookscan and see what I can do to understand these sales rankings, too. Creators tells me that they believe that "Finding Max" has some real chance of success, and maybe that means in their film sales, I'm not sure. I know they are based in Southern California, rather than NYC, so they should have some good connections in the film industry, since they're such a big syndicate and have been around for 30 years now. I'm not sure what to think -- except I know I'm going to be the one to take charge of the design of that book cover! That's for sure. Best, Magnus.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi Thedrellum, Thanks for weighing in on the situation. I appreciate it very much!

    I've actually approached many, many agents who have all rejected me. I am a newbie to the publishing industry if you count only how many publications I've had. Zero. But I'm not new in how much research I've done and how many people I've approached. I sent the manuscript to Creators early this summer, and they were the ones who approached me next, with strong comments about how much they loved the book and how much they wanted to publish it. They really believe in it -- something that no one else has done so far. But I haven't been diving headfirst. Far from it. But thanks for watching out for me.

    It's true that the books that they've published already look terrible. I'm planning on designing the book myself. I'm sure they'd be open to the idea. I mean, why do they care who designs it as long as it gets designed for them, right? They seem so open to my input that I'm sure they would be fine with my finding a designer for the book, myself. And the designer I have in mind would do an amazing job of it. Truly an amazing job of it.

    They seem to have the reach to market it and advertise it properly. They're talking about "social media posts, Facebook ads, email blasts, press releases, YouTube ads, book trailers and more." End quote. I've also approached them about both a podcast tour and a blog tour that I will set up and they are down with it. They're very excited, actually, about my input and my entrepreneurial spirit concerning the book, and I'm very excited about being able to do something to help.

    I've gone the self-publishing route before, and it led to nothing in sales. I've done it with three books, one novel and two non-fiction books. Extremely little in sales for all three. The novel sold to only my family and friends and the two non-fiction books sold minuscule amounts, small enough in sales that only a few dollars trickle in each month.

  8. #8
    Behind the door of a small house.
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnus8 View Post
    I've got a graphic designer I'm friends with who will charge me next to nothing to design a great cover for this book and the two sequels that I'm writing. I plan on using her to design the book covers instead of their indesign team...
    I, obviously, don't know your graphic designer friend or what he/she is capable of producing, but...the fringes of the publishing industry are littered with people who profess editorial and/or design skills that may be well-intentioned, but aren't up to market standards relative to the market expectations. If you have examples of book covers your friend has designed, I'd love to take a look. I understand the lure of cheap help, but sometimes you get what you pay for, and graphic design is often one of those areas where it becomes problematic.

    I think that they believe that success will come through ebook sales, if that bears on the conversation. And I don't know what a sales ranking of 3,000,000 means. Is that terribly low? I don't know what a sales ranking that would be good would be. Could you possibly explain this any more to me?
    Very quick tutorial -- Amazon's sales rankings are based on the premise that #1 is the best selling and each successive number is selling fewer copies (whether this is determined by the hour, the day, the month, etc. is left to some ambiguity). A spot checking of the sales rankings of some Creators titles would indicate that their books have, optimistically, sold maybe a half-dozen copies. 6.

    For instance here are some of the books featured on their Books page

    Stefan Kanfer | The International Garage Sale | Published August 2014 | Sales Ranking: #3,607,625
    Stefan Kanfer | The Eskimo Hunts in the Twin Cities | Published August 2014 | Sales Ranking: #3,594,114
    James Dulley | Here's How | Published November 2016 | Sales Ranking: none (which indicates no copies have been sold)

    They only list four books in their "Novels" category, though some of those books don't actually appear to be fiction, so I'm unclear why they're being labeled "Novels."


    Creators tells me that they believe that "Finding Max" has some real chance of success, and maybe that means in their film sales, I'm not sure. I know they are based in Southern California, rather than NYC, so they should have some good connections in the film industry, since they're such a big syndicate and have been around for 30 years now. I'm not sure what to think -- except I know I'm going to be the one to take charge of the design of that book cover! That's for sure. Best, Magnus.
    I see no reason to suspect they have any connections in the film industry. Absent geography, do you have any reason to assume that? Did they say they had film connections? Are they asking you for money for the production of the book? I'm only going on what I see on their website, but I've got no confidence that Creators operates as any sort of legitimate publisher as far as having meaningful distribution/media presence in either print OR ebook formats.
    Last edited by Round Two; 12-14-2016 at 10:00 PM.

  9. #9
    from words to worlds zmethos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnus8 View Post
    They seem to have the reach to market it and advertise it properly. They're talking about "social media posts, Facebook ads, email blasts, press releases, YouTube ads, book trailers and more." End quote. I've also approached them about both a podcast tour and a blog tour that I will set up and they are down with it. They're very excited, actually, about my input and my entrepreneurial spirit concerning the book, and I'm very excited about being able to do something to help.
    What makes you think they have this reach? They have fewer followers on Twitter than I do (and I don't have many). And you can do social media posts and ads and emails all on your own. Plus, of course they're excited you want to do a podcast tour--you're planning to do your own work and they'll get a cut of anything you make.

    Also, if you hire your designer friend for the cover, with Creators pay for that? Or is that out of your own pocket?

    It sounds like you've pretty much made up your mind, and that's fine. I definitely understand being excited because I was in a similar situation the first time a small publisher "asked me out" and took me for a walk around the block. Just be sure this publisher has the reach you think they do. Otherwise, there's not a lot they can do for you.

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Dear Round Two,

    I, obviously, don't know your graphic designer friend or what he/she is capable of producing, but...the fringes of the publishing industry are littered with people who profess editorial and/or design skills that may be well-intentioned, but aren't up to market standards relative to the market expectations. If you have examples of book covers your friend has designed, I'd love to take a look. I understand the lure of cheap help, but sometimes you get what you pay for, and graphic design is often one of those areas where it becomes problematic.

    Hey, I said I had a graphic designer friend, meaning, that my friend is a professional graphic designer. I wouldn't be foolish enough to just accept help from some Joe who says they have design skills without knowing about their skills. Though you don't know that, so I'll take your comment in stride. But yes, my graphic designer friend is just that -- a professional graphic designer whom I trust, and who is also a friend -- hence the inexpensive rate. The inexpensive rate comes from having worked professionally on numerous projects together in the past during the time I owned a professional video production company. I know her work. I trust her work. I trust her. I'm not stupid enough to just get some Joe off the street to design a book cover for me when she's never designed her way out of a rabbit hole before.

    I do, however, agree about the sales rankings. The rankings of the books you use as examples are abysmal. But your figures don't add up. The difference between #3,607,625 and #3,594,114, however, indicate more than half a dozen copies in sales. By your figures alone, there would have been approximately 100,000 copies in sales, at least (I didn't actually do the math, however). Subtract one from the other and you have approximately 100,000 in sales difference, hence the sales. Both of these titles were published in 2014, indicating that there were at least SOME sales of one of Kanfer's books. Just saying...

    True, I assumed film connections based on geography, which are not absolutely evident. I was just supposing, as I said when I used the word, "maybe".

    And no, of course they're not asking for money. I would never consider a publisher who asked me for money. Again, I'm not that, well, you know...

    And you talk about not having any confidence that they "operate as any sort of legitimate publisher as far as having meaningful distribution/media presence" and yet you never once mention their "meaningful distribution" or "media presence" at all in your post. I find that kind of funny. Don't you?

    Best,
    Magnus.

  11. #11
    Behind the door of a small house.
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnus8 View Post

    Hey, I said I had a graphic designer friend, meaning, that my friend is a professional graphic designer. I wouldn't be foolish enough to just accept help from some Joe who says they have design skills without knowing about their skills. Though you don't know that, so I'll take your comment in stride. But yes, my graphic designer friend is just that -- a professional graphic designer whom I trust, and who is also a friend -- hence the inexpensive rate. The inexpensive rate comes from having worked professionally on numerous projects together in the past during the time I owned a professional video production company. I know her work. I trust her work. I trust her. I'm not stupid enough to just get some Joe off the street to design a book cover for me when she's never designed her way out of a rabbit hole before.
    Cool, sounds like you've got the graphic designer bit under control and that you ran a professional video production company suggests that you understand the different levels of people who claim to be "professionals." Since there are no controls/certifications required for calling yourself a "graphic designer" there's a wide variance between the level of quality that can be expected from any two people claiming the job title. In any case, like I said, sounds like you've got it under control.

    I do, however, agree about the sales rankings. The rankings of the books you use as examples are abysmal. But your figures don't add up. The difference between #3,607,625 and #3,594,114, however, indicate more than half a dozen copies in sales. By your figures alone, there would have been approximately 100,000 copies in sales, at least (I didn't actually do the math, however). Subtract one from the other and you have approximately 100,000 in sales difference, hence the sales. Both of these titles were published in 2014, indicating that there were at least SOME sales of one of Kanfer's books. Just saying...
    There's absolutely nothing in what I said that would suggest a difference of 100,000 copies in sales. That's not the way the rankings work. It could be that one of those titles sold 3 copies in the last nine months and the other sold 2 copies in the last nine months. Amazon's sales rankings are a mixture of # of copies sold calcuated with X amount of time passed. One argument that gets a lot of traction is that the sales rank, once you get to a certain number (into the 500,000+ range) is based on how long it's been since an item last sold and that's why you can have two titles that have both sold ONE copy with different sales ranks because one sold more recently than the others. Like I said, it's an inexact science, but when a book has a sales rank of 3,000,000 it's a clear indicator that it hasn't sold more than a few copies on Amazon.

    True, I assumed film connections based on geography, which are not absolutely evident. I was just supposing, as I said when I used the word, "maybe".
    What you actually said was, "I know they are based in Southern California, rather than NYC, so they should have some good connections in the film industry" and I'm just saying that I have a lot of friends in the publishing industry, many of them in Hollywood/Los Angeles and they do NOT have any sort of reliable connections in the film industry. Being in the area gives ZERO indication on what sort of film contacts they might have. Having expectations to the contrary, absent any evidence, is a recipe for feeling disappointed.

    A review of their website and using Google didn't return any hits of anything movie related to Creators.

    And no, of course they're not asking for money. I would never consider a publisher who asked me for money. Again, I'm not that, well, you know...
    I can't figure out what their model is -- there's no indication that they're making money by selling books to bookstores or readers, so I have to wonder how they're keeping the lights on. I'm glad and relieved to hear they aren't asking you for money. Based on Amazon rankings I would be surprised if they've made more than a few hundred dollars from ebook sales for all of their titles available for Kindle (that's 231 titles total). Based on their Bookscan numbers, I think they've made less for sales through bookstores (it appears that the majority of their print books are not listed on Bookscan and are, therefore, likely Amazon generated CreateSpace titles).

    And you talk about not having any confidence that they "operate as any sort of legitimate publisher as far as having meaningful distribution/media presence" and yet you never once mention their "meaningful distribution" or "media presence" at all in your post. I find that kind of funny. Don't you?
    Not sure what you find funny. Take a look at their books -- have any of them been reviewed in publishing trade journals? Consumer media? I can't find any evidence of it. Is there any meaningful track record of books being distributed to bookstores/retail outlets? Judging by Bookscan? No, there isn't. I don't see any information on their website for how bookstores would even order their books (look at other publisher's websites and that information is readily available).

    Are they good at content syndication? Maybe. I don't know anything about that business. Do they operate like a functional publisher? Not consistent with any of the successful houses I've seen.

    They also give incorrect information on their For Writers page as far as royalty rates go and they give no indication that they are doing any editorial work on books (they might be, there just isn't any information to suggest they are). What it looks like is that you submit your book, they format it and make it live on Amazon as an ebook and the two of you split revenue 50/50. That's not publishing.

    Look at what their "Fiction" section is -- a bunch of hundred+ year old Horatio Algers stories and a few novels from Stefan Kanfer. That's it. Where does "Finding Max" fit into that line? Kanfer has sold more than 100,000 books since 1995 (Bookscan), but those were all through Random House and are not part of Creators. His books through Creators aren't listed on Bookscan and have poor Amazon sales rankings.

    So, that's where I come up with my media presence/meaningful distribution argument. Not sure what's supposed to be funny about it.
    Last edited by Round Two; 12-15-2016 at 07:56 AM.

  12. #12
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    Acceptance...wait, what?

    So, I got busy last fall and submitted like crazy, focusing on one of my four completed novels. A few months later, I got this very enthusiastic offer from an editor at "Creators Publishing." I did a lot of looking around, and from what I could tell, they seemed to be legit. The offer was to publish digitally, and although that wasn't the original dream, I am not a dinosaur and I totally get how digital is a big deal these days. They also offered POD, so anyone who wanted to buy an actual, tactile copy would be able to do so.

    The editor and I had a long chat via phone shortly afterwards. Creators is in California, and I'm in Ontario, Canada. She was very honest about how things worked at her company and answered all my questions. She said she would be emailing a contract (which she did) and that we could talk about making any changes and/or fine-tuning things. It was a split-the-royalties kind of deal, with marketing services, cover design, etc. provided. Editing would take about six months, and that sounded about right to me, She said that she hoped she would be the editor assigned to my book.

    As I looked over the contract, I saw a section in there about the company having first shot at anything else I write. So, that was something I immediately wanted to fine tune, especially since I have so much existing material already. I actually wanted that part taken right out.

    This all happened a month ago. I've sent three emails with my questions about the contract, and have not heard one word back.

    I would be very interested in hearing what other writers might think about this situation and thank you in advance!

    C

  13. #13
    Always writing AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    I've asked a Supermod to merge this with the Creators Publishing thread in BR&BC. Grab onto something...

  14. #14
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    I've never heard of Creators Publishing and I know a ton of publishers. Did you check in the bewares section? If there isn't a thread about them, I would start one. Do they have a website? Do they have books out? If so, how well are they doing? You wouldn't have to pay anything would you? Maybe not hearing back might be a good thing. At least now you can fully check into them. Google is your friend. I would research the heck out of it before signing.

  15. #15
    figuring it all out C Alberts's Avatar
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    Most of their books appear to be in e-book format only.

    Their website says:
    Where will my book be distributed?

    Your book will be listed on the top e-commerce sites: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble’s Nook books, Google Play and iTunes.

    I chose the first dozen or so titles from an Amazon search that showed paperback versions and plugged the ISBNs into the Ingram database. They don't even show up. There is also nothing on Creators' website indicating that they sell to bookstores, wholesalers, or distributors. This means that it is unlikely a bookstore could even special-order one of these books for a customer if asked.

  16. #16
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    Can someone provide a link? I'm having trouble finding it on Google.

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW Maze Runner's Avatar
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  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thank you...I'm new here, and I still have a lot to learn about using this forum.

    I so appreciate your help--it's quite enlightening to see others comment on their experiences with Creators.

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