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Thread: Between the Lines Publishing

  1. #1
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    Between the Lines Publishing

    Not to be confused with Between the Lines Books, who are also publishers but of nonfiction.

    Someone I know has recently signed a contract of publication with these people and I'm a little concerned tbh. For one thing I couldn't find their website via searching--had to hunt it down through their FB page. Their titles also look... dreadful.

    The site itself is barebones. And I couldn't find any reviews because they get buried or hidden by the nonfiction Canadian company.

    Thoughts?

    http://www.btwnthelines.com/
    Deferential, glad to be of use,
    Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
    Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
    At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
    Almost, at times, the Fool.


  2. #2
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    They offer editing and ghosting services.

    Their submissions guidelines are not very well-written.

    If you have a completed manuscript that explores the liminal world, we want to hear from you. Please send your query to [redacted]

    What does "liminal" mean? The liminal world is the place that exists between one existence and another.
    Their covers are abysmal.

    They only have two books in their online bookshop.


    I wouldn't touch them with a six-foot pole.

  3. #3
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    The line about liminal such and such is very similar to Between the Lines Books (marginalised people who fall between the lines or somesuch).

    They've got at least three, now, but the cover for their newest one isn't any better.

    Trying to work out a nice way to explain this to said person, but it's probably too late if they've signed a contract. Sigh.
    Deferential, glad to be of use,
    Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
    Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
    At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
    Almost, at times, the Fool.


  4. #4
    Born at sea Clairels's Avatar
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    Papyrus font on a book cover = I'm out.

    The Blue Line, short story published in Oakwood 2017
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  5. #5
    Thick Skin Pre-Installed Zombie Fraggle's Avatar
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    First paragraph on the splash page attempts to entice authors instead of readers.

    *engages NOPE-SPEED™ engine*

  6. #6
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clairels View Post
    Papyrus font on a book cover = I'm out.
    My thoughts exactly! The only time I've seen Papyrus used to good effect was on the poster for an amateur production of Antony and Cleopatra, where it just about made sense.

  7. #7
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    The moment I saw "editing services" I clicked out.

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Wow - interesting critique from individuals who could have any answers to their questions simply by asking. Instead, you offer your opinion on whether authors should submit to us or not based on nothing more than a search online. Have you spoken to any authors who have submitted to us for publishing?

    We are a young company (started out offering editing services and expanded). We do not now, nor have we ever charged someone to publish their work. It is not unusual for a publishing company to offer multiple services. We limited our publishing to two books for the first year so we could offer the best to the publications. This year will see four books. It's not about quantity. Thank you thought, for your opinions of the book covers. All are doing well, but your input is appreciated.

    If there is something you would like to know about Between the Lines Publishing - ask. I am happy to answer any questions.
    Specializing in creative fiction and poetry that delves into the world between. Do you have a character in transition? Urban fantasy or time travel? Paranormal? If you have a story with a liminal theme, we want to hear from you. Between the Lines Publishing

    Check us out on Facebook.

  9. #9
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrdWvr View Post
    Wow - interesting critique from individuals who could have any answers to their questions simply by asking. Instead, you offer your opinion on whether authors should submit to us or not based on nothing more than a search online. Have you spoken to any authors who have submitted to us for publishing?
    Hello, Wrd.

    The advice we've given in this thread is based on our experience, knowledge, and understanding of how publishing works, not just on online searches. And speaking to the authors who have submitted to you wouldn't have provided answers that would really help, I'm afraid, because they wouldn't necessarily know if you were a capable or professional publisher, just how their own submission process went.

    We are a young company (started out offering editing services and expanded). We do not now, nor have we ever charged someone to publish their work. It is not unusual for a publishing company to offer multiple services.
    It's always wise for writers to wait until a publisher is two or three years old before submitting. This gives the publisher time to prove itself. When new publishers start they don't necessarily have the knowledge or expertise required to make a good job of publishing, and often, the first few books they publish are not published well.

    I'm glad you don't charge to publish books. But if you're offering paid-for services, and the writers you publish utilise those services, then you're a vanity publisher. You're earning money from the writers you publish, rather than from selling the books to new readers.

    And yes it is unusual "for publishers to offer multiple services" when they're charging for any of those services. You don't see Penguin Random House charging writers for editing or marketing services, or for ghostwriting their books.

    We limited our publishing to two books for the first year so we could offer the best to the publications. This year will see four books. It's not about quantity. Thank you thought, for your opinions of the book covers. All are doing well, but your input is appreciated.

    If there is something you would like to know about Between the Lines Publishing - ask. I am happy to answer any questions.
    It's very wise to restrict the number of books you publish. I wish more small presses would do this. And I'm glad you're happy to answer questions, and appreciate input, because I have some questions and some advice.

    I'm glad your books are doing well: how many copies have you sold?

    Do you separate your paying clients from the authors you publish? Do you expect the authors you publish to pay you to edit their work prior to publication?

    I suggest you update your website: the design is poor, the writing on it is not very good, and it's full of grammatical and punctuation errors, which doesn't bode well for the editing services you provide.

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    First - as for experience, I have 15 years in the industry. The assumptions made within this thread were based on a site that was created 5 years ago when we only offered editing and creative writing services. This was updated to add the publishing aspect two years ago. Yes, at the time it was bare bones and still a work in progress. The site was updated in late May. It will never be a site over-run with text or graphics - it's meant to be streamlined. Having spent years designing business websites, I prefer keeping things simple.

    No author, who submits a manuscript for publishing, has ever paid for editing. That is a service we offer to clients. Thank you for explaining vanity presses to me. Though, I have to admit, I don't enjoy being treated as if I just walked through the doors. I do know too many young writers who have fallen victim to vanity presses. We have had clients who shifted to our publishing side. When that happens, they do not pay for the editing and are no longer clients.

    Book performance varies. One book sold 200+ copies during its release weekend, while another didn't do as well. We market for our authors, but expect them to engage with their readers as well. Their level of engagement reflects in the book's performance. With that in mind, we never stop working for our authors. BLP competitive royalty rates and is willing to take a chance on newer writers.

    Cover art appears to be a particularly important part of the comments. Papyrus was used with intention and has not negatively impacted the reception the anthology received. We do not push our vision. Authors are fully engaged in the process and have final say on their art work. Some come to us with a completed cover design, while others are created in house. We offer suggestions and give caution where warranted, and while I have not personally agreed with some of the final art work, the end result is THEIR vision and voice. As to the artwork displayed on the services page: each belongs to the respective author and were provided to us post publishing.

    You opened your comment mentioning the years of experience all of you have in the industry. How many years do you have working as a publisher or as an editor?

    It was suggested that newer publishers should have a few years under their belt before authors submit to them. That is a circular argument. A publisher can not get experience without authors to publish. If potential authors avoid newer presses based on this advice, the press will inevitably fail.

    I should have started this off with: A "young company" does not necessarily mean the owners/operators are inexperienced.
    Last edited by WrdWvr; 06-14-2017 at 08:47 PM.

  11. #11
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrdWvr View Post
    It was suggested that newer publishers should have a few years under their belt before authors submit to them. That is a circular argument.
    I see it as a way writers can protect themselves. A lot of presses are founded on hope, optimism and good intentions, but then go out of business quickly. If writers wait a few years to see how a press does in the long run, the writers are less likely to be burned.

    And if the press is a good one, they'll still be around in a few years.
    Sleeping Beauty m/m retelling : 87,000 words.

  12. #12
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrdWvr View Post
    First - as for experience, I have 15 years in the industry.
    It would really help if you mentioned this on your website. And if you explained what you've done during those fifteen years. It helps people understand who they might be working with.

    The assumptions made within this thread were based on a site that was created 5 years ago when we only offered editing and creative writing services. This was updated to add the publishing aspect two years ago. Yes, at the time it was bare bones and still a work in progress. The site was updated in late May. It will never be a site over-run with text or graphics - it's meant to be streamlined. Having spent years designing business websites, I prefer keeping things simple.
    I've made my comments based on how your website was when I looked at it. You should keep it current, rather than complaining that we don't understand that it was dated when we looked at it.

    As your site stands right now, today, it's not "streamlined": it's poorly designed, and full of errors. It's not a good advertisement for your company.

    No author, who submits a manuscript for publishing, has ever paid for editing. That is a service we offer to clients. Thank you for explaining vanity presses to me. Though, I have to admit, I don't enjoy being treated as if I just walked through the doors. I do know too many young writers who have fallen victim to vanity presses. We have had clients who shifted to our publishing side. When that happens, they do not pay for the editing and are no longer clients.
    So first you say writers who submit to your publishing company have never paid for editing; then you say you HAVE published some of your editing clients. This is confusing.

    And please, don't take our comments here personally. We're discussing a business, and whether it's in our interests to submit to that business.

    Book performance varies. One book sold 200+ copies during its release weekend, while another didn't do as well.
    Selling just 200 copies during release weekend is not good. But thank you for telling us that. I hope you do better in future.

    We market for our authors, but expect them to engage with their readers as well. That reflects in the book's performance. With that in mind, we never stop working for our authors. BLP offers some of the best royalty rates (based on research with previously published authors and other publishers) in the business and is willing to take a chance on newer writers.
    I've heard lots of publishers claim to offer some of the best royalty rates there are. But royalty rates are not the only thing writers should be concerned with, nor are good royalty rates enough to make a publisher good; and this claim is often invalidated by their calculating royalties on an undefined net, rather than on cover price.

    All reputable publishers are "willing to take a chance on newer writers" if their writing is good enough. Implying otherwise, as you do here, does not reflect well on your knowledge or understanding of the publishing business. In fact, it's one of those Great Big Red Flags which often denote that we're dealing with a vanity press.

    Cover art appears to be a particularly important part of the comments. Papyrus was used with intention and has not negatively impacted the reception the anthology received. We do not push our vision. Authors are fully engaged in the process and have final say on their art work. Some come to us with a completed cover design, while others are created in house. We offer suggestions and give caution where warranted, and while I have not personally agreed with some of the final art work, the end result is THEIR vision and voice. As to the artwork displayed on the services page: each belongs to the respective author and were provided to us post publishing.
    So you're willing to let people without experience or expertise decide on one of the most important marketing tools you have as publishers: the design of your book jackets. Again, this does not reflect well on your abilities as a publisher.

    You opened your comment mentioning the years of experience all of you have in the industry. How many years do you have working as a publisher or as an editor?
    I can't remember exactly. More than thirty. Perhaps more than thirty five. I've worked for all of the Big Five, on both UK and US imprints, and for many independent publishers; I've worked for book packagers; I've worked in editorial, marketing, publicity and sales; I've spent some time in music, newspaper, and computer games publishing, too. I've won prizes for my marketing and publicity work, and I now work as a director for two specialist companies. In addition I have a masters degree in writing (with distinction), I've won over thirty prizes for my writing, and I've had over forty books published, some of which have been best-sellers across the world.

    It was suggested that newer publishers should have a few years under their belt before authors submit to them. That is a circular argument. A publisher can not get experience without authors to publish. If potential authors avoid newer presses based on this advice, the press will inevitably fail.

    I should have started this off with: A "young company" does not necessarily mean the owners/operators are inexperienced.
    The suggestion that writers should not work with newer publishers is not a "circular argument", it's good sense. Let others allow new publishers to treat their books as learning experiences: my books are only going to be placed with good, established publishers who have proved they know what they're doing.

    I agree that there are some young companies out there which are worth submitting to: but when I look at a company's website and see nothing about its principals, nothing about their background or skills or experience, and that website is as dire as yours is, I don't have much faith that they're going to do a good job of publishing my books.

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I agree that all authors should do their own research on any publisher before submitting.

    This is another reason we limited our first year to only two publications. This gave us the ability to focus on those publications quality and not simply churn out books like a mill. I do agree there are areas for improvement for both books - specifically with formatting. Both are in the process of being reformatted to give the content cleaner lines and improved appearance.
    Specializing in creative fiction and poetry that delves into the world between. Do you have a character in transition? Urban fantasy or time travel? Paranormal? If you have a story with a liminal theme, we want to hear from you. Between the Lines Publishing

    Check us out on Facebook.

  14. #14
    Left-Handed Writing Fairy folclor's Avatar
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    I do not have years of experience and am barely published, so take whatever value that puts on my words:

    As an author, your site does not appeal to me. It doesn't appear to be a product of knowledgeable web design in that the best way I know to describe it is unappealing. It doesn't even seem 'decent' for something made five years ago. Now, I think you could easily make it appealing, and I do understand that this sort of thing is completely subjective, but I would urge you to at least look at templates on host services like SquareSpace or Wix to get ideas.

    The covers seem like they're made with the CreateSpace cover templates, something the authors could do themselves. Speaking of, how much marketing do you do for your books? Does most of it fall on the author's shoulders? My first publisher was that way and it was infuriating not understanding what that meant going in.

    And this final aside: I'm glad to know you have experience, but there's no About page on your website. How are we supposed to know that you have experience or where you got it from?
    WIP: Dark Fantasy (possibly YA?)
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  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    What I said was: Authors have come to us for our editing services. During the process (we offer a free sample edit to all potential clients), if the editor sees a publishing opportunity (i.e. the book fits our theme), an offer is made. If the author accepts, then we shift the manuscript to our publishing side. This ends the client relationship and a publishing agreement is drawn up. No author, being published by us, has ever paid for editing.
    Specializing in creative fiction and poetry that delves into the world between. Do you have a character in transition? Urban fantasy or time travel? Paranormal? If you have a story with a liminal theme, we want to hear from you. Between the Lines Publishing

    Check us out on Facebook.

  16. #16
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrdWvr View Post
    What I said was: Authors have come to us for our editing services. During the process (we offer a free sample edit to all potential clients), if the editor sees a publishing opportunity (i.e. the book fits our theme), an offer is made. If the author accepts, then we shift the manuscript to our publishing side. This ends the client relationship and a publishing agreement is drawn up. No author, being published by us, has ever paid for editing.
    If they pay for editing and THEN you decide to publish them, do you refund them the money they paid for editing?

    How many of the authors you've published have first paid you for editing and then become authors you publish?

    And you've not yet told us what your publishing credentials are. Who have you edited for? Where have you worked? What's your expertise?

  17. #17
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    WrdWvr, are you Cherie Macenka, the owner of BTL Publishing?

    https://www.facebook.com/cherie.mace...5%3A1497461687

    Also...homonym alert!

    You can get updates and sneak peaks into this and other books by Blake at her author page found here.
    http://www.btwnthelines.com/
    (This is a teaser for a book whose back cover boasts reviews by 'Charlote D.' and 'Susan P.')

    Julia's natural curiosity is peaked
    https://www.facebook.com/btwntheline...type=3&theater
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 06-14-2017 at 11:01 PM.

  18. #18
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Oooh, buttered, please!

  19. #19
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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  20. #20
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    It's rather ironic that there's a perfect example of the risks of going with a new publisher on BTL Publishing's own Facebook. The owner of Mighty Quill Books, founded in 2015, is struggling:

    http://www.writinginadarkroom.com/po...-post-to-write

    She's launched an appeal on Patreon and the company is currently seeking promotion team members, developmental editors, copy editors and proofreaders willing to work for free.

    While we're on the subject of editing and proofreading, two of the three BTL books I looked at were not edited to a professional standard.

  21. #21
    figuring it all out C Alberts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    While we're on the subject of editing and proofreading, two of the three BTL books I looked at were not edited to a professional standard.
    I took advantage of Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature of one of their very recent releases. There's an obvious typo in the second sentence of page 2. A character's name is spelled 3 different ways in the first few pages (if this is deliberate for some reason it is certainly not clear from the sample pages shown).

    Not a good first impression.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrdWvr View Post
    I agree that all authors should do their own research on any publisher before submitting.

    This is another reason we limited our first year to only two publications. This gave us the ability to focus on those publications quality and not simply churn out books like a mill. I do agree there are areas for improvement for both books - specifically with formatting. Both are in the process of being reformatted to give the content cleaner lines and improved appearance.
    You knowingly put out a book that did not meet market expectations? There simply is no excuse for this. None. You're not going to be graded on a curve or with any special consideration -- the things you publish are either ready to be on the shelf next to other publishers, including the Big Five and respected independent houses, or they're not. That decision is made by the publisher BEFORE a book sees the light of day. Why would you do that?

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    If they pay for editing and THEN you decide to publish them, do you refund them the money they paid for editing?

    How many of the authors you've published have first paid you for editing and then become authors you publish?

    And you've not yet told us what your publishing credentials are. Who have you edited for? Where have you worked? What's your expertise?
    Okay - let me make this clearer for all of you - no one we have published has EVER paid for any service we offer. If an author requests a sample edit (this is free) and we decide from that sample to make an offer, we do. If they opt to only use the editing services, then we move forward with that agreement, but if they decide to accept our offer to publish, then we complete a publishing agreement. No money is exchanged.

    Two of the authors we are publishing this year started out this way.


    Like you I've been in the industry for a while - though you've got years on me. I respect your comments based on your experience and accept the changes that need to occur to the website. Funny thing is, it is based off a publishing template, but go figure. Thank you for that input. I started out as an intern for Bloomsbury, with several indie presses, and Oxford University Press. I have edited both fiction and academic non-fiction.
    Last edited by WrdWvr; 06-15-2017 at 04:06 AM.

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    WrdWvr, are you Cherie Macenka, the owner of BTL Publishing?

    https://www.facebook.com/cherie.mace...5%3A1497461687

    Also...homonym alert!



    (This is a teaser for a book whose back cover boasts reviews by 'Charlote D.' and 'Susan P.')

    Not sure what you're question is here, but thank you for pointing out a human error - it's fixed. I take it your comment about the back cover boasts has a point. The reviews listed on the back cover are from ARC reviews. They can also be found on the web, written by the reviewer.

    I am the owner of BLP and yes, that is my PERSONAL page. What's your point? If this is meant to be a professional conversation, then leave my personal page out of it. Unless your point is to simply attack another human being.

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Jesus. I just looked at Ominous Tales -- I count three errors in the first two sentences. The antecedent issues alone render the thing incomprehensible.

    The people who put this out not only put it out under the guise of a professional publishing outfit, they charge for editing.

    Hubris is an amazing thing.

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