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Thread: Luna Press Publishing

  1. #1
    Sneezy Member mistri's Avatar
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    Luna Press Publishing

    Luna Press Publishing is having an open submissions week for novels - sounds great, but I don't know much about them.

    Does anyone else?

    https://www.lunapresspublishing.com/submissions

    Through looking at their Twitter account, it seems they do have books/authors out doing cons.

    I did look for them on the search, but couldn't find anything. Apologies if they've come up before.

  2. #2
    Preparing for winter VeryBigBeard's Avatar
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    I've only been half-looking at their site for five minutes while cooking dinner and I've already seen enough red flags to strongly suggest running away.

    Looks very much like a self-publishing front expanding into accepting other people's work. I'd be sceptical this house can actually sell books in quantity. For one, they don't seem to have functioning Amazon links.

    I'll try to follow up later.

  3. #3
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I looked there books up on Amazon and some of their non-fiction seemed to be well-produced and selling respectably.
    Emily Veinglory

  4. #4
    Preparing for winter VeryBigBeard's Avatar
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    I very much have not looked at all their books on Amazon. The ones I did look at said they were obsolete, and to buy direct from the publisher. Which is odd, especially when those are the books by the publisher's founder. Just looked at a few more, some of which seem to be selling OK on Kindle but some of which don't have sales ranks at all (which usually means they've not sold on Amazon).

    The red flags are far more that they say their authors are "encouraged" to affiliate their books with charities, that the publisher is offering other services (including editing), that their academic publishing mentions no peer review, and that there are errors in some of the site copy.

    Above all else, it's only been around since 2015, which means I'd still put it in the wait-and-see stage, especially as none of the founders seem to have any experience in publishing.

  5. #5
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    They had a table in the dealer's room at Fantasycon. Their books are physically well produced, get edited and they clearly do some promotion. I'm reading one of their books at the moment and I'm not seeing anything that would put me of submitting to them.

  6. #6
    Sneezy Member mistri's Avatar
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    That's potentially positive! Maybe I would consider submitting then - I do have a novel that 'almost' got the go-ahead in an open sub before...
    Last edited by mistri; 10-06-2017 at 05:30 PM.

  7. #7
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Fox Spirit currently have an open submission window. Elsewhen Press also have one coming up. Both worth considering.

    "wonderfully old-school epic adventure fare"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcvasKnJlV8

  8. #8
    Preparing for winter VeryBigBeard's Avatar
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    Do they have distro beyond cons? I admit one of the things that gave me pause was reading the blog, seeing a lot of emphasis on cons and other varieties of self-promotion--some of which can work, and which are good techniques, particularly for self-publishers--and no mention of distribution or other rights.

    Do they distribute widely to bookstores and libraries? Preferably through a distributor? They say initial print-runs are 1-2.5K, which seems low for having distribution, but how much of a problem this is can depend on what connections the press has.

    Do they market the books, beyond cons? A lot of the founders and initial authors seem to be connected through Tolkien fandom, which is fine and potentially a good community, but it's not marketing to booksellers. Even if distro is on the small side, the house should be putting in some marketing direct to bookstores, it should have a catalogue, it should be sending out ARCs to reputable publications both in the trade and in the arts media--but I don't see any of those sort of reviews (or even blurbs) on the books they've published.

    How are royalty rates calculated? The site doesn't say, which is fine, but it looks like the house doesn't pay an advance so it's very important to figure out how you're getting compensated as an author, here. The house is started by someone who self-published, which is fine, but the house needs to be offering more than "put it on Amazon and set up POD" to its authors in exchange for whatever cut of royalties it is taking.

    Just some questions to ask. Of any publisher, really.

    I'd also like to know how the "Chapter 1" service thing works.

    https://www.lunapresspublishing.com/chapterone

    If there's any cross-over there between authors who also have to pay for what appears to simply be converting a Word doc into epub... that's very, very bad. Not saying that's what's happening, just that when publishers offer these services it is very important to have them separated from the submissions stream. Likewise, there shouldn't be referrals between rejected authors and the house's own editors.

    There are other questions that services page raises, too, including why there are typos on it.

  9. #9
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    I am not associated with this publisher so these are my guesses.
    They do not have a distribution deal - there is only only major bookstore chain in the UK (Waterstones) and they are hard to get into. There are relatively few SF/F independent bookstores in the country but I expect they have an arrangement with some. They do not pay an advance. Their connections into independent fandom is where they would do the majority of their marketing.

    They are no different from the majority of UK independents in this.
    You seem to be expecting a much bigger operation than is the case for all but a couple of UK independent publishers.

    "wonderfully old-school epic adventure fare"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcvasKnJlV8

  10. #10
    Preparing for winter VeryBigBeard's Avatar
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    I'm not super-familiar with UK independents but I am familiar with small, regional publishers in my neck of the woods that operate the same way.

    Those publishers have deals with distributors that carry their books, market them to the major chains (Chapters Indigo, where I am), and get them stocked. Many of them publish books that are more experimental, perhaps more literary or with a more specific local interest. But they sell enough to break even because they have distribution. Their books can be found in libraries and when you're browsing any of the touristy bookshops run by Indigo. They work directly with specialist book reviewers well in advance to arrange press, and when the book launches these houses have enough niche reputation in the local cultural scene to call up arts reporters and let them know what all the book-worms are talking about. They may do smaller print runs but often have rights agreements with larger publishers and printers so that if demand for a book explodes, they can get more printed quickly. See this for an example of why this kind of thing can matter.

    They are, in other words, not just publishing into the wind.

    There can be benefits to a small, specialized, publisher. There are trade-offs. These are merely questions to ask. Do you have a book that suits this house's particular specialty? That suits this house's particular marketing strategy? These aren't things that come up when I skim through Luna Press's blog--instead, I see a lot of self-publishing jargon, a lot about the founders own experiences trying to sell her own books, and no real understanding of how to actually sell books at scale as a publisher, even a small one. Now it may be that they sell some of the books they have published well, which is great. They seem to publish a fair bit of Tolkien stuff and the founder is apparently a booker for the Tolkien Society, which is a huge fan org, so I reckon they can sell the Tolkien stuff. Is your book about Tolkien? Is it new work but clearly evocative of Tolkien's stuff?

    Ask questions up front. Is this house giving you anything for its cut of royalties that you cannot do yourself by self-publishing? Is your book ever going to be read by more than friends and family if you publish with this house? How much are you going to be out of pocket promoting it on your own to make up for any lack of marketing or distribution? Is your book going to be entered in or even eligible for the awards circuit?

  11. #11
    Sneezy Member mistri's Avatar
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    It's been a long time since I worked in bookselling/publishing (I'm in the UK), but I thought distribution was still pretty important. There is a big indie bookshop in my town - rare, sure - it still gets most of its books from the main disties. I've ordered from them quite often . I'm not sure they'd carry Luna Press books (I will see next time I go in there!)

    I sort of share VeryBigBeard's concerns. The site is very much about the founder rather than the publishing company in itself. In fact I see red flags all over the website. But on Twitter they seem quite active in the market and to have potential - so I started the thread unsure if they were one or the other. I've heard the actual books are nice.

    At the moment I am edging towards not submitting (not that it will matter to them of course, no doubt they will get lots sent in) - the first round is based on synopsis over writing anyway which I'm not super keen on.

  12. #12
    Preparing for winter VeryBigBeard's Avatar
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    Have you queried agents with your MS or considered submitting to better-known small houses?

    Never a bad idea to aim high, see what happens.

  13. #13
    Sneezy Member mistri's Avatar
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    tbh this book has already been through the mill - a few agent requests and did well in an open sub, but ultimately rejected. I think it's at the stage where it should stay trunked forever, but every so often I pull it out and think 'it's not bad, you know!'

    But I have others I'm working on and plan to aim high with those, so...

    But hopefully thread is useful to anyone else interested in Luna Press!
    Last edited by mistri; 10-08-2017 at 01:58 PM.

  14. #14
    Preparing for winter VeryBigBeard's Avatar
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    For sure.

    Sometimes a book that's trunked can find new life when you sell a different book.

    If you were to sub to Luna Press, it would be a good idea to question them thoroughly about when they consider a book out-of-print and how long a book has to be out-of-print before the rights revert. That way, if you sold Book B and an editor agreed with you about Book A, you could potentially re-publish it.

    But with a lot of POD houses the book is never truly "out-of-print" (in some ways, it's never truly "in print" to begin with) so it's very important to hammer the timelines and what constitutes "out-of-print" in the contract.

    Not that you're necessarily going with Luna Press. Just that these are the sort of questions that matter with a publisher beyond whether the covers are good and the books well-edited (which also matters, don't get me wrong).

    Good luck with the other books, and with finding a home for this one!

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