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Thread: [Writers Services] Chapter One Promotions

  1. #1
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    [Writers Services] Chapter One Promotions

    I discovered a link to Chapter One Promotions at another little writing site I go to.

    www.chapteronepromotions.com

    I'm not too keen on them. The site is full of errors in punctuation, and the writing is dire. There's no mention of any sales made by the literary agency part of the organisation, who they represent, or of how they structure their fees. I feel suspicious. But then again, I'm like that. Any comments?

  2. #2
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    Writing contests? Critique services, coupled with blatant grammatical issues? No list of book sales?

    This has all the hallmarks of something I would avoid, dishonest or not.

  3. #3
    5 W's & an H Sassenach's Avatar
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    You're not being skeptical, you're being smart. They have no bona fides and their fees are ridiculous. E.g.,

    Poems of up to 40 lines £20
    OR
    Writing programme for prisonshalf days and full day sessions and our prices start at £290 for a three hour session, and £550 for a full day, with discounts for block bookings. [I had no idea there was such a lucrative market in prison writing classes!]
    I feel God in this Chili's.
    -Pam Beesley









  4. #4
    Got the hang of it, here Absolute Sage jchines's Avatar
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    "We are equally interested in fiction, non fiction and poetry collections, and all genres are welcomed."

    In other words, we don't care what you send, because we're not really worried about selling it. We take our money from hopeful writers, not by actually making sales to publishers.

    The fact that there are no sales listed pretty much confirms this is not an "agency" you want to sign up with.
    "A good library is both church and armory..."
    -from LIBRIOMANCER

  5. #5
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    Their opening salutation Hello Dear Writer made me cringe and put me off even before I read anything else on that site. It's a good lesson in how to discourage readers and potential clients.

  6. #6
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    I thank you all for your comments. Much as I suspected. I'll post a link to this thread on the other forum, so that I don't have to make my point alone.

  7. #7
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Just to reiterate, for the benefit of anyone else who might read this thread, the reasons I would not use Chapter One Promotions are:

    1) Who are they? I don't know if the people they use to critique manuscripts are qualified to do so. They have not given us the names of their editors/critique-writers, no CVs/resumes for their staff, nor any sort of track-record to check up.

    2) There are no successes listed. No sales for the "agency", no client-list. Nothing.

    3) They are charging quite high fees for their services, and give no indication of the fees/commissions charged by their agency.

    4) And as if that were not enough, their website is full of errors of grammar and punctuation. Which is not good when this site is offering "proof reading" services!

    Bearing in mind the complete lack of real information given on the web site, the poor presentation, and the errors which pepper the site, I would not use Chapter One Promotions, nor would I advise anyone else to use them. I have no idea who they are, and while the people behind the website might be real, qualified, experienced writers and/or editors, they could just as easily be people with no experience or ability in this field.

  8. #8
    chris@castus
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    Please may I introduce myself. I am the co-founder of www.castus.co.uk the design company behind the site you are ‘discussing’ on this thread.

    Feedback is always appreciated and I would like to thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts. I will review all comments with the management of Chapter One Promotions but would like to seek clarification on one or two points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartholomew
    No list of book sales?
    Could you please explain this to me in more depth. Books available are shown at http://www.chapteronepromotions.com/...llar/index.htm. Or do you mean a counter of how many have been sold so far?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartholomew
    Hello Dear Writer…discourage readers and potential clients
    The site has a warm and inviting colour scheme with a rapidly growing community supporting it through the private log in area. To support this a ‘personal’ approach has been taken. Part of me agrees with what you say as I advise clients to use the initial <h1> tag (technical talk for main heading) to summarise in a few words what the page is about.

    Obviously this is subjective and what is right for one person may not ‘switch on’ every body else. Can anyone else offer their opinion on what they read into this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack
    poor presentation
    Are you commenting upon the content of the site or the visual presentation? If the latter could you please spare the time to have a conversation with me. Contact details can be found on www.castus.co.uk

    Regarding the comments about the sites copy, as previously stated I am a web dev so am not in a position to comment (please ignore any mistakes within this post) but will pass your thoughts onto the management of COP.

    There is also a lot of feedback that I have not asked for further comments about. Please do not think that I have chosen to ignore it, I will review all in full.

    One thing that I would like to point out at this stage is that comments as direct as some of those above can break an SME. Fortunately COP is already established with a loyal community behind it. The next site that suffers the same treatment may not be so lucky.
    Whilst I understand that forums are fantastic to share news on scams or malicious traders, to my knowledge no one has suffered a bad experience with COP.

    Please bear this in mind the next time you are putting finger to keyboard.

    Kindest regards
    Chris Harpin

    These are the views of Chris Harpin and not Castus Design or the client in which he is supporting.
    Last edited by chris@castus; 12-11-2006 at 08:24 PM.

  9. #9
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    I have today received an email via Absolute Write from Chris Harpin, in which he asks for a discussion with me either via phone or via an IM service, in order to discuss Chapter One Promotions. I think it more appropriate that his questions are answered here, in a public forum, and will let him know. Meanwhile, I'm in a huge rush so if someone else could answer some of the questions he poses above, I'd be grateful. I will, of course, come back here as soon as I can but as I'm going away tomorrow for a couple of nights, that might not happen for a while.

  10. #10
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Were the books listed at http://www.chapteronepromotions.com/...llar/index.htm sold by the literary agency branch of the organization? Or are they books for which the author has paid for marketing? Or is there some other relationship between these books and the site?

    Is the marketing done by Seaman's Roost actually useful? Who has used it, to what effect?

    "Presentation" doesn't refer to <H1> tags or colors. It refers to the information present. We're writers. We pay attention to words.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 12-11-2006 at 09:58 PM.

  11. #11
    chris@castus
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    Thank you for your response Jane, as I said in my reply it looks like I have read the wrong thing into your previous comments but will definitely raise this with COP in our next review meeting.

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    Were the books listed at http://www.chapteronepromotions.com/...llar/index.htm sold by the literary agency branch of the organization? Or are they books for whom the author has paid for marketing? Or is there some other relationship between these books and the site?

    Is the marketing done by Seaman's Roost actually useful? Who has used it, to what effect?
    I am afraid that at this stage you would need to contact COP direct for an answer about this. As previously stated I am with www.castus.co.uk, the company behind the site and have no input or responsibility towards the running of COP.

    At this stage I intend to suggest:

    ** Case Studies
    ** Profiles & Achievements of Team

    Other than the content specific (grammar etc.) points I think this would help to alleviate most of the concerns.

    As you all represent the community that the site targets your thoughts would very much be appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    "Presentation" doesn't refer to <H1> tags or colors. It refers to the information present. We're writers. We pay attention to words.
    ???

    Kindest regards
    Chris Harpin

  12. #12
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Chris, I don't think anyone here is questioning the design of the website (which I think is quite attractive). What we're questioning is content, and the usefulness of the services offered by Chapter One Promotions.

    - Victoria

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW
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    Old Hack, I am glad to see this post since I have my own concerns.

    I was a prize winner in last year's competition, but to date I have not collected my prize due to concerns I have raised with the organisation over the contract. I am not sure whether I should explain more here as I have not heard back yet.

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW
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    Update: Looking better. They've reverted to me with an amended contract which I'm happier with. I have one thing to clarify with the amended document but otherwise it looks much better.

  15. #15
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Susan, if you have the offer of a contract but no agent, you might consider contacting the Society of Authors. You can join for a relatively low fee (about £80 I think) and once you've joined you can send your contract in for a completely free review. The last time I did this I got four or five closely-typed pages back from them, which advised on several revisions I should request, and gave the reasons for those revisions. If I had paid for this service from a solicitor I would have been out several hundred pounds, which makes the cost of joining well worth it.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW
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    COP have requested that I edit this post in the interests of fair dealing in light of the post I have just made below - done.
    Last edited by Susan Lanigan; 06-16-2008 at 04:10 PM.

  17. #17
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Three words: "Contact The Police."

  18. #18
    Blooming Idiot annie.rushden's Avatar
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    Screen shot the page.
    WIP #1: 19762/?????
    WIP - urban fantasy: 7800/?????

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW
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    COP have requested that I edit this post in the interests of fair dealing in light of the post I have just made below - done.
    Last edited by Susan Lanigan; 06-16-2008 at 04:10 PM.

  20. #20
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Hmmm. Chapter One Promotions is running its competition again, but seem to have an agent on-side (who is, according to a novellist friend of mine, legit).

    http://www.chapteronepromotions.com/...ompetition.htm

    I wonder if Susan ever got her winnings?

  21. #21
    Sockpuppet
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris@castus View Post
    Thank you for your response ...
    Chris,

    I think the website layout and flow is great. But there are lots of sites, (companies) that go after the writerís gullibility when it comes to the publishing game. When there are English usage mistakes on a publishing firmís website it makes writers very wary.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW
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    An update to indicate I have finally received all outstanding prize money from Chapter One Promotions.
    Last edited by Susan Lanigan; 06-16-2008 at 04:26 PM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Lanigan View Post
    Update, and it's not a good one. I've still not received a penny of my prize money, and furthermore they're advertising this year's results on their website! How can they keep going if they don't give out prizes to their contestants?

    After getting no response to a polite e-mail, I've asked a relative who is a solicitor to write to them as I now consider it a legal matter.

    Susan

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Lanigan View Post
    Well after talking about it with the people concerned I thought I'd post an update.

    It appears I am not the only person who has yet to collect their winnings. I was contacted by another person who found my thread and put me in touch with a third. That makes three pretty p*ssed off writers, if you will excuse the language, with this company. Solicitors' letters have been sent, societies have been contacted. Going to the small claims court is also an option that is being considered.

    I do not wish to jeopardise anyone else's dealings with this shower, so I won't comment any further, simply to say that none of the people concerned has received any money, yet. When and if we do, I will update, in the interests of fair comment.

    In the meantime, draw your own conclusions, by all means!
    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Lanigan View Post
    An update to indicate I have finally received all outstanding prize money from Chapter One Promotions.
    It's good to hear that it had a happy ending for you.

    I hope the winners of future competitions won't have to go though the same pain.

    Good luck!

    Mac
    Last edited by Mac H.; 06-16-2008 at 04:58 PM.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW
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    Just a note, Mac: COP have requested me to edit the first two of those quoted posts since all monies have actually been received. I've done so.

  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    We've established that Chapter One Promotions is an excellent place to get a professional opinion on your work provided you a) don't mind if it's not really a professional opinion; b) can wait a few years to hear back and c) have pounds to throw around.

    Since I meet none of the above requirements I'm still looking for a place that I can get a constructive and useful critique on my manuscript before going forth to be rejected by oodles of publishers. Any ideas on where to start?

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