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Thread: The Book Guild (formerly Book Guild Publishing)

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Sarmorrow's Avatar
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    The Book Guild (formerly Book Guild Publishing)

    I've had an email expressing interest in my book from the Book Guild. But they're asking me to pay for the first edition!

    I've replied saying I can't afford it - as their info page says they don't always ask for this.

    Any opinions on this lot?

    Sarah

  2. #2
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    They claim to have invented joint-venture publishing? (Insert glyph of hysterical laughter here.)

    That page of their's is one red flag after another.

    Someone should tell them that spell-checking their own website isn't an optional step, either.

    This is a vanity press. Ignore them. Avoid them. Go somewhere else.

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Sarmorrow's Avatar
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    I did.

  4. #4
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Figured I'd update the thread, as a Book Guild author has been in the legal press recently, albeit for the wrong reasons (see http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=187613 for further details).

    It's a strange company that claims to offer:

    - a "conventional publishing" option (under which it provides an advance)

    - "Partnership publishing" (where the author contributes to the cost);

    - "Production only publishing" (which seems to be straight-out self-publishing for a fee); and

    - "sponsored publishing for companies and charities" (and I'm not completely certain how this is different to Partnerhip Publishing or Production Only Publishing).

    There are a number of things on the website that would make me uncomfortable or cause me to ask more questions before signing with them:

    Book Guild Publishing Website (BOLDING MINE):
    Also known as mainstream publishing, this is where the publisher will pay for all costs and may pay an advance to the author.
    If by mainstream publishing they mean commercial publishing then the author will get an advance for their work. I'd be interested in knowing how many authors that Book Guild has paid advances to and I'd want to know how much those advances were.

    Book Guild Publishing Website:
    Due to the high level of risk in conventional publishing, books generally have to be considered to have mass market potential. At present, this means that the focus tends to be on “dead certs” - previously published authors with a successful track record and/or well-known names, particularly from celebrity culture.
    This isn't true. While commercial publishers are always looking for an angle to whip up sales, plenty of first time novelists are getting advance paying deals and in fact, you've got a better chance of being published if you're a new author with no track record but a book that the publisher thinks will sell, than you do as an established author with middling or poorer than expected sales.

    Book Guild Publishing Website:
    The Bookseller has said that three out of four publishers’ books do not make money, so for a small, independent publisher the risks are even higher.
    Does this statistic relate to all publishers (in which case, I wouldn't be surprised to know that some publishers don't make money) or commercial publishers?

    Book Guild Publishing Website:
    Every year Book Guild Publishing brings out conventionally published titles that we think will sell well in the mass market, and we have an excellent record of sales, though, of course, it is still a risk to us, as it is to all publishers. We are then able to apply our position in the marketplace to all of our books, not just to those conventionally published.
    I'd want to know how many books on average their books sell.

    Book Guild Publishing Website (BOLDING MINE):
    [Partnership Publishing] is a full publishing package, which gives the author creative control and a high level of involvement. Unlike self-publishing, our full package includes a rigorous editorial service, high-quality production, professional jacket design, publicity, marketing, a UK sales force, global marketing where appropriate, warehousing, distribution, accounting, representation at the London Book Fair, and inclusion in our catalogue, on our website and on Amazon.co.uk. We also include two years of representation after publication.
    I'd want to know what this means. It suggests that they're acting as agent for the published book, which would tie in with a suggestion on their site that they are taking all rights in the work (including audio, world-wide publication rights and adaptation rights). That is not a good idea for an author (notwithstanding their claims to have got some authors deals for those rights).

    Book Guild Publishing Website:
    Partnership Publishing offers a higher royalty rate: in general terms, the author will receive 30% of the retail price of every book sold, which is equivalent to 80% of the net receipts.
    I'd want to know how much on average each author going with Partnership Publishing receives in royalties.

    Book Guild Publishing Website:
    You only pay for the origination costs for the first edition: any subsequent reprints are paid for in full by the Book Guild.
    I'd want to know the terms for getting a reprint before deciding if this was a good deal.

    Book Guild Publishing Website:
    [Production Only] service includes the full editorial, production and design of your book to provide you with finished copies for your own distribution and use.
    This looks like a straight-forward pay-to-publish/self-publish operation.

    Book Guild Publishing Website:
    An experienced marketing and publicity department with established contacts and an excellent track record of obtaining press, radio and TV coverage; bookshop and library distribution; online promotion, including Amazon.co.uk and www.bookguild.co.uk; and, global marketing where appropriate. More >
    Book Guild does appear to have got some coverage including reviews for authors in the national UK press, although I haven't verified exactly what that coverage is (or indeed to what extent it was organised by the authors themselves).

    All in all, not a company I'd be running to have publish my book.

    MM

  5. #5
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    Just looking at their site, and they state that you can

    Book Guild Publishing titles can be bought or ordered from any bookseller in the UK, including from websites. We have accounts with all the key UK bookshop chains, wholesalers and library suppliers, with whom our experienced reps have long established relationships.

    You can also now buy books directly from this site by clicking on the shopping basket, or you can click on any of the links below to go through to the sites directly.



    Alternatively you can order books directly from our distributors in the UK and beyond:

    UK and IRELAND


    Trade Distribution
    Orca Book Services
    160 Milton Park
    Abingdon
    Oxon OX14 4SD

    Tel: 01235 465577;
    Fax: 01235 465556
    Email: direct.orders@marston.co.uk


    but you can order any book from those places, waterstones even lists Publish America books on it's website.

    There's no indication that any of these books are actually physically available in stores though,.
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  6. #6
    A wanderer in the sea of publishing Michael Drakich's Avatar
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    I am involved in a back and forth discussion with the people at Book Guild. Originally I queried them in regards to the first novel I have written and they responded with their OUTLINE OF AUTHOR CONTRIBUTION PACKAGE. I notified them my thanks but I am looking for a traditional arrangement. I subsequently queried them on my second novel and they replied questioning whether I had reconsidered. I politely informed them I still looked for a traditional arrangement and hoped that their observing my second novel may have them reconsider their position. They contacted me once more for clarification.

    So you know exactly what is said, here are the last 3 emails.

    From: [Person 1] [mailto:[Person 1]@bookguild.co.uk]
    Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 5:14 AM
    To: Michael Drakich
    Subject: RE: publishing enquiry


    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for your email. Can you confirm that you only wish to submit your manuscript for conventional publishing rather than with our partnership publishing package (where you make a financial contribution)? We certainly do publish novels in the conventional way. However, like a traditional publisher, we are only able to take books on (to be part of our mainstream list) that have a straightforward market, ie if someone has a famous name, or a well-known name in their field, and the books we take on conventionally are usually non-fiction.

    With publishing as it is today, first time fiction is very difficult to get published on a mainstream basis. If the writer can cover the overhead, we offer a way to get published that otherwise wouldn’t be available. It does give the writer a chance to get noticed, as you can see by the coverage that we obtain.

    Bearing all this in mind, if you are still happy to submit your manuscript for conventional publishing only, let me know and we look forward to receiving your manuscript. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any further questions in the meantime.


    All the best,

    [Person 2]
    Publishing Assistant
    For and on behalf of
    CAROL BISS
    MANAGING DIRECTOR

    From: Michael Drakich [mailto:michael_drakich@sympatico.ca]
    Sent: 25 August 2010 18:55
    To:
    [Person 2]
    Subject: RE: publishing enquiry

    Hello Isabelle,

    Yes, I am only looking for a conventional publishing arrangement. I am neither famous, have a well known name in some other field, or previously published and my works are fictions.

    Nevertheless, I continue to operate under the belief there is still a market for first time novelists such as myself provided the work is good enough and the story offering a wide appeal. I believe my novels fit into both categories but obviously such a determination would be yours to make.

    I would be happy to forward either or both of my completed novels for your examination. Please advise me as to which novel you would like to see (or both) and in what format you would like to receive them.

    Respectfully,

    Michael Drakich

    Dear Michael,

    I completely understand your position and admire your enthusiasm and determination. Please send in your manuscript(s) printed as hard-copies on A4 paper, no need to worry about binding etc.
    I look forward to receiving them.
    Kind regards,

    [Person 2]

    Now I don't know about things as I am a complete novice, but my first impression is this sounds legit and I should send them my manuscripts

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Michael

    [Exact names and emails redacted -- JDM]
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 05-12-2011 at 11:02 AM. Reason: Removing names of non-principal persons

  7. #7
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Don't bother Michael. They lost me at the "With publishing as it is today, first time fiction is very difficult to get published on a mainstream basis.", because it's complete and utter shite. There IS a market for first-time novelists. But a publisher like these guys are not going to get you there. Search elsewhere. Publishers who have packages generally make the majority of their cash from those packages, and not selling to the public.
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  8. #8
    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Drakich View Post
    Now I don't know about things as I am a complete novice, but my first impression is this sounds legit and I should send them my manuscripts

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Michael
    To quote UJ...

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    This is a vanity press. Ignore them. Avoid them. Go somewhere else.
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  9. #9
    writer/teacher JL_Benet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Drakich View Post
    Originally I queried them in regards to the first novel I have written and they responded with their OUTLINE OF AUTHOR CONTRIBUTION PACKAGE. I notified them my thanks but I am looking for a traditional arrangement. I subsequently queried them on my second novel and they replied questioning whether I had reconsidered.
    I can't understand why you would have queried them a second time, muchless try to discuss anything further with them.

  10. #10
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    [Person 1]@bookguild.co.uk:
    We certainly do publish novels in the conventional way. However, like a traditional publisher, we are only able to take books on (to be part of our mainstream list) that have a straightforward market, ie if someone has a famous name, or a well-known name in their field, and the books we take on conventionally are usually non-fiction.
    Well, I don't recognise the names of anyone on their non-fiction sales list. I'd be interested in knowing who they've offered "traditional" publishing to.

    [Person 1]@bookguild.co.uk:
    first time fiction is very difficult to get published on a mainstream basis.
    Bollocks.

    First time fiction is published every week by commercial publishers who pay those first time authors for their work.

    [Person 1]@bookguild.co.uk:
    If the writer can cover the overhead, we offer a way to get published that otherwise wouldn’t be available.
    Bollocks. Anyone can get vanity published and there are dozens of outfits to choose from.

    [Person 1]@bookguild.co.uk: :
    It does give the writer a chance to get noticed, as you can see by the coverage that we obtain.
    Check out the most recent coverage here:

    http://news.bookguild.co.uk/

    It's not particularly impressive and I'd question how much of it is obtained by Book Guild and how much is by the authors concerned.

    Michael Drakich:
    but my first impression is this sounds legit and I should send them my manuscripts
    Michael, I don't understand why you'd think that when Sophie's first email was clearly aimed at pushing you towards paying them to be published. I would be very surprised if she offers to pay you an advance for your book and even if she did, I'd question whether it's worth taking it as I haven't seen any copies of their books in my local bookstores.

    There are other publishers out there and your best bet is still to find an agent.

    Start at the top and work your way down.

    MM

    [Exact email address redacted -- JDM]
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 05-12-2011 at 11:03 AM. Reason: email address redacted

  11. #11
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    I received this e-mail today soliciting a review of a book. There are several sketchy things about it...


    E-mail removed per very respectful request by publisher. Posting it in it's entirety was my mistake.
    Last edited by Liosse de Velishaf; 08-18-2014 at 03:38 AM.

  12. #12
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    17.99 is way expensive for a hardback

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  13. #13
    Just the facts, please
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    They're pitching an interview with a dead author?

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by JournoWriter View Post
    They're pitching an interview with a dead author?
    LOL I needed that laugh over my coffee!

  15. #15
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BookGuildPublishing

    the gripping tale of a futuristic society where life is regulated by the state and nobody is quite what they seem…
    The problem with a one-sentence summary.

  16. #16
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    Quote Originally Posted by JournoWriter View Post
    They're pitching an interview with a dead author?

    Somebody did not remember to customize their boilerplate. At least that's what I assumed when I saw that part. It's pretty standard for review requests, normally. But if they can swing me a review with a dead author, maybe I should review the book anyway?!

  17. #17
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Bought by Troubador in July '15, and now dba The Book Guild Ltd.. Same URL.
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