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Thread: WindRiver Publishing

  1. #1
    Roger J Carlson
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    WindRiver Publishing

    Does anyone know anything about E. Keith (JB) Howick, Jr. at Windriver Publishing?

    --Roger J. Carlson
    www.rogerjcarlson.com

  2. #2
    Kate Nepveu
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    Re: Windriver Publishing?

    I don't. However, this quote from their Publish with Us page:
    How Can I Improve My Chances for Selection?
    Your manuscript will be reviewed more favorably if it has been professionally edited. Editing should include: syntax, spelling, narrative flow, chapter transitions, use of jargon and technical terms, etc. If you have not yet had your manuscript professionally edited, you can find out how to do this through our Author Services department.
    made me raise my eyebrows. I note as well that they have very few books listed in their catalogue, though I am not sure how long they've been around.

  3. #3
    Roger J Carlson
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    Re: Windriver Publishing?

    I noticed the same thing and it bothered me too -- especially with my recent experience with ST Literary. However, there were other factors that *didn't* fit the scam scenerio.

    1) At the very top of their page, they say also say this:
    We do not charge an author's subsidy to review manuscripts, nor to publish accepted manuscripts. Nor do we work with agencies who do.
    2) They rejected my novel earlier this summer. They did NOT say they would reconsider it if it was professionally edited, nor did they ever suggest their editing services.

    Had either of these things happened, I would have known it was a scam. My impression of scams like Publish America is that they NEVER reject anyone.

    (It's kind of sad really that I consider them legitmate *because* they rejected me. <sigh>)

    3) Before I received their rejection, I did a major revision on the book. I asked if they'd like to see it again. Mr. Howick wrote back and said if I thought it was markedly improved he'd look at it again. He also gave me a couple of reasons why they reject many science fiction novels and asked me to review my novel with these in mind.

    This struck me as professional.

    4) Many of their books are listed with Amazon.com and BN.com. Unfortunately I don't know if this is actually a mark in their favor. There are only a few copies in stock.

    I can't tell for sure if they are a small publisher or a POD. Although I think POD will have its place in the future, I really want a traditional publisher at this time. I was hoping that someone had heard of them.

    Thanks for the input.

  4. #4
    vstrauss
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    Re: Windriver Publishing?

    Even if "professional editing" had some sort of industry-accepted meaning (which it doesn't, because so many "professional" editors aren't), there's a sizeable conflict of interest here given that they provide a link that leads authors to their own "professional" editing services.

    This publisher has a wholesale page (not accessible to the public) and seems to have a returns policy, but it's hard to tell how effectively it markets and distributes its books. One way to gauge a publisher's marketing efforts is to check for reviews and bookstore presence. Reviews from trade journals (Publishers Weekly, Booklist, etc) and an arrangement with a distributor (as opposed to a wholesaler like Ingram or Baker & Taylor) suggest the publisher is making an effort to get its books into the hands of readers. The lack of these suggests a publisher that relies on its authors as an unpaid sales force--i.e., most everything after the book has been made available for sale will be up to you.

    - Victoria

  5. #5
    Roger J Carlson
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    Re: Windriver Publishing?

    Thanks for that, Victoria. I've sent in another proposal and we'll see how it goes. I'll post here what I find out.

  6. #6
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Windriver Publishing

    Still very few authors. No advance.

    http://www.windriverpublishing.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi
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  7. #7
    JB Howick
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    WindRiver Publishing

    This is an old thread, but I thought I'd chip in. I'm JB Howick. My full legal name is Edward Keith Howick, Jr, and I'm president of WindRiver Publishing. One of my authors is my father, Keith Howick, so to avoid confusion I use a family nickname, JB.

    WindRiver Publishing isn't (at least in my opinion) a scam. We are, however, a small publisher. As I've browsed through Absolute Write's forums, I find that a lot of authors automatically round-file small publishers into the SCAM folder. It's a bit unfair, but I can see why. Small publishers aren't large publishers. We can't offer all of the benefits of Random House. However, Random House (and other large publishers) seem to be the measure we're compared to. as you can imagine, it's a comparison we'll lose for a while.

    1. Professional Editing - Editing Services. For a while we offered professional editing services. We did not consider it a conflict of interest and we did not pitch the service to the author of any rejected manuscript. If you saw submissions like we do, you'd understand why we offered the service (more about that in a moment). We have since discontinued it because, as we grew, it proved to be a greater liability than benefit. We wanted to focus on publishing.

    2. Professional Editing - Recommended. Do we recommend that authors get professional editing before submitting to ANY publisher? You bet! 85% or more of the rejections we send out are because the project is terribly written.

    Please be sure you understand this. Those rejections weren't because the story was bad, or the plot had holes, or because we didn't have space for that particular genre ... they were rejected because the author's command of the English language was so sub-standard that we didn't think we could save the manuscript with our own in-house editing. Is it the publisher's responsibility to edit the book to conform to both house rules and to maximize the book's saleability? Yes! But that doesn't mean we have to accept garbage. Time favors publishers. It's been estimated that at any given time twenty million manuscripts are in circulation. Publishers need only wait for a better manuscript to come along. Professional editing improves your chances of acceptance.

    3. Advances - If you're measuring a publisher's authenticity by whether or not they offer an advance, you're walking away from a lot of publishers who can help you with your career. An advance is *not* a measure of whether or not the publisher is authentic. Advances are starting to become rare even from the large publishers (especially for new authors).

    This is important. Advances may have been an author's perogative a century ago, but not today. Few new authors ever receive an advance. Advances are a high risk investment by the publisher. From a certain point of view, they can be viewed as a measure of the publisher's belief that your book will become a best seller. However, the smaller the publisher, the less likely the publisher is willing to take that risk. We aren't. We'd rather plow that money into marketing and promotion. Big publishers are beginning to believe the same way. If you're a best selling author, you can expect an advance. If you're not, expecting an advance is only hurting you.

    4. Few Authors - This was an odd observation. After only seven months, we still had "very few authors." Most books take between nine and fourteen months just to publish (if you're doing it the right way). After three years of operation, we have twenty-four books in print and two books out of print. For a small publisher, that's explosive growth.

    One of the most surprising trends I see on the list is the belief that a good publisher always sells tens of thousands of books and always gets everything reviewed. This isn't even true for the large publishers. Traditional publishers can be viewed as the investing arm of the publishing industry. We take risks on projects. We put out all the money, most of the effort, and hope like crazy a book makes our money back. However, after all the market research, promotion, and other efforts we make, a book might not actually catch the public's interest. Some investments just don't work. The difference between a good publisher and a bad publisher? A good publisher has more successes than failures (to date, of the 24 books we've published, two haven't boken even on costs, four haven't been in publication long enough to judge. That's a pretty good record.).

    If you have any questions I'm happy to address them. I actually enjoy talking to authors about their books, and we're still small enough that I have time to do so.

  8. #8
    5 W's & an H Sassenach's Avatar
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    Advances - If you're measuring a publisher's authenticity by whether or not they offer an advance, you're walking away from a lot of publishers who can help you with your career. An advance is *not* a measure of whether or not the publisher is authentic. Advances are starting to become rare even from the large publishers (especially for new authors).

    This is important. Advances may have been an author's perogative a century ago, but not today. Few new authors ever receive an advance. Advances are a high risk investment by the publisher. From a certain point of view, they can be viewed as a measure of the publisher's belief that your book will become a best seller. However, the smaller the publisher, the less likely the publisher is willing to take that risk. We aren't.
    Calling bull**** on this. Where do you get your info that advances are becoming rare?
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  9. #9
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    JB Howick:
    Professional editing improves your chances of acceptance.
    No it doesn't. Sure, professional editing can help - but so can taking a writing course or joining a good critique group. You're doing a huge disservice to your slushpile by recommending this because if the book's no good, they're throwing money away trying to get a 'professional' to rescue it.

    JB Howick:
    Advances are starting to become rare even from the large publishers (especially for new authors).
    Who are you talking about here? The big publishers all pay advances. Please cite where you got this information from.

    JB Howick:
    We'd rather plow that money into marketing and promotion.
    What marketing you do? Where can I buy the books that you publish?

    JB Howick:
    If you're a best selling author, you can expect an advance.
    Rubbish. You don't have to be a best seller to get one. Please see my earlier comment.

    JB Howick:
    a good publisher has more successes than failures (to date, of the 24 books we've published, two haven't boken even on costs, four haven't been in publication long enough to judge. That's a pretty good record.).
    Actually that says to me that you don't have distribution in place to sell the volume to meet your costs.
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 10-26-2006 at 02:50 PM.

  10. #10
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB Howick
    3. Advances - If you're measuring a publisher's authenticity by whether or not they offer an advance, you're walking away from a lot of publishers who can help you with your career. An advance is *not* a measure of whether or not the publisher is authentic. Advances are starting to become rare even from the large publishers (especially for new authors).

    This is important. Advances may have been an author's perogative a century ago, but not today. Few new authors ever receive an advance. Advances are a high risk investment by the publisher. From a certain point of view, they can be viewed as a measure of the publisher's belief that your book will become a best seller. However, the smaller the publisher, the less likely the publisher is willing to take that risk. We aren't. We'd rather plow that money into marketing and promotion. Big publishers are beginning to believe the same way. If you're a best selling author, you can expect an advance. If you're not, expecting an advance is only hurting you.
    For anyone who believes this statement, please take a look at www.PublishersMarketplace.com. It's a subscription based service ($12/month), but a wealth of information about the industry. They have a section called New Deals in which real publishers list new deals. Each listing shows the author, agent, and the advance (given in broad ranges). Nearly everyday, you can find listing of debut authors (ie first-time authors). Almost all of them get advances.

    BTW, you can also get their free newsletter Publishers Lunch , which will give you some of this information daily.
    Last edited by Roger J Carlson; 10-26-2006 at 05:43 PM.
    --Roger J. Carlson

  11. #11
    Now departed. Rest in peace, Scott, from all of us at AW Requiescat In Pace Popeyesays's Avatar
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    I appreciate that the owner of Windrover came by to talk about it.

    A lot of small presses cannot afford advances, I understand that; but it is a misapprehension that the use of advances is Gone with the Wind. Many small publishers DO offer advances in hundreds, some in thousands.

    The advance is a business decision, based on what the publisher believes the earned royalties will be. It's not money for nothing and the advance is paid back out of royalties earned, only after the advance is earned out do royalties start accruing to the author's credit again.

    Computation of advances is often not understood by the beginning publisher

    First time authors who are picked up by houses which still accept unagented manuscripts are getting advances routinely from SF houses like Baen, Tor and DAW. Romance writers get advances as newbies all the time in the Romance lines which accept unagented submissions.

    One should also be aware that a submission and a wuery letter are two different things.

    Many publishers who do not accept unagented submissions "ovedr the transom" still welcome query letters and will request submission when the query letter suggests they should.

    All this said, I went with a company which does not do advances, but they do make it up on the royalty rate.

    Regards,
    Scott
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  12. #12
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB Howick
    2. Professional Editing - Recommended. Do we recommend that authors get professional editing before submitting to ANY publisher? You bet! 85% or more of the rejections we send out are because the project is terribly written.

    Please be sure you understand this. Those rejections weren't because the story was bad, or the plot had holes, or because we didn't have space for that particular genre ... they were rejected because the author's command of the English language was so sub-standard that we didn't think we could save the manuscript with our own in-house editing.
    It is highly unlikely that a story can be beautifully crafted with no plot holes if the writer has a sub-standard command of the English language. Command of the language is a pre-requisite for being able to write a good story. How can a publisher even tell if the story is good if they can't decipher the language?

    In his book, The First Five Pages, agent Noah Lukeman gives a hierarchy of reasons for being rejected. First and most common are poor spelling and grammar, poor sentence structure and grammar, and so forth. That is, the kind of thing a "professional editor" is going to correct.

    But after that, once you have command of the language, then he sees errors in plot construction, bland writing, and story arc. In other words, learning the language comes first, learning to write comes second.

    Telling writers that they have a good story, but their command of the language is poor, so they ought to get someone to doctor it up, is simply disingenuous.
    --Roger J. Carlson

  13. #13
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Even very small publishers can give small advances. Samhain, a new e/POD press, gives $100 and most authors report earning it back within the first month or two. The willingness to pay something up front establishs the scale of publication and reflects the pulisher's confidence that sales will quickly reimburse that cost.
    Emily Veinglory

  14. #14
    Naked Futon Guy allenparker's Avatar
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    editing

    I took an evening to think about this suggestion. First, learning to edit your own work is part of the process of learning to be a writer. Now, I believe in beta readers, exchange programs where two writers "exchange papers" and help work through trouble spots.

    This does not mean that one needs a professional editor to "fix" your book before submitting.

    What makes this bad is when the authors receives his work back from the publisher's editors, he may not know how to fix the book fro mtheir suggestions.

    Learning to work through the editing problems will strengthen the author and make his NEXT book even better.

    just a thought... awp
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  15. #15
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I used a professional editor for my first novel, well, professional-ish--she wasn't charging hundreds, let alone thousands, of dollars. It did help me at that stage in my development. But the idea that most submitting authors should do it as a blanket statement seems weak.
    Emily Veinglory

  16. #16
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB Howick
    As I've browsed through Absolute Write's forums, I find that a lot of authors automatically round-file small publishers into the SCAM folder.
    It's true that people are sometimes too quick to call "scam." Most of us here, however, are aware of the distinction between a scam (a deliberate intent to defraud) and a bad or misguided idea (an amateur publisher that knows little or nothing about editing, marketing, or distributing books). The bottom line for the author is pretty much the same--a book that no one will buy, read, or consider a professional credit, plus, often, some kind of wasted financial investment, whether it's a fee or buying your own books for resale--so we're vigorous in advising writers to steer clear of both situations.

    I agree with most of the points made in the responses to your post, so I won't reiterate them--except to emphasize what others have said about advances. Unfortunately, it seems to be becoming an established item of writing mythology that "most authors don't get advances." (This fits right in with the equally mythical "agents aren't interested in new writers" and "publishers won't take a chance on debut authors.") It's certainly true that many smaller publishers don't give advances (though, as has been pointed out, some do). But advances are universal for larger independents and the major houses--for brand new authors and established ones alike.

    If you have any questions I'm happy to address them.
    Thanks. I do have some questions.

    - What steps do you take to get your books into physical bookstores? Do you have a distributor?

    - What's your standard discount for booksellers?

    - Do you have a returns policy for booksellers?

    - What steps do you take to get your books reviewed? For instance, do you send out ARCs?

    - Victoria

  17. #17
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    I had a professional editor edit my first book too. He was the editor of my local newspaper and my brother. He certainly helped me with grammar, sentence structure, and some rudimentary story problems, and I will always be grateful. But when I started submitting, I got responses about the story and not on grammar. (Casting no aspersions on my brother. He's not a fiction editor, after all.)

    Point is, it wasn't that I had a wonderful story hidden behind the bad language. I had a basically good idea that couldn't be expressed until I had command of the language. Once I had that, I could begin working on the writing.

    If you'd replace "beta reader" or "critique group" in place of "professional editor" I could basically agree.
    Last edited by Roger J Carlson; 10-26-2006 at 07:19 PM.
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  18. #18
    figuring it all out
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB Howick

    1. Professional Editing - Editing Services. For a while we offered professional editing services. We did not consider it a conflict of interest and we did not pitch the service to the author of any rejected manuscript. If you saw submissions like we do, you'd understand why we offered the service (more about that in a moment). We have since discontinued it because, as we grew, it proved to be a greater liability than benefit. We wanted to focus on publishing.

    2. Professional Editing - Recommended. Do we recommend that authors get professional editing before submitting to ANY publisher? You bet! 85% or more of the rejections we send out are because the project is terribly written.
    I'm of the firm belief that 98%+ of what we reject is NEVER going to be good enough unless it is scrapped and ghostwritten by somebody else. This extends to authors who assure me that a book has been "professionally edited." In my experience, that's been the mark of an author who isn't ever going anywhere, and is desperately reaching for straws. It's not a publisher's job to mine mountains for gold, instead it's a publisher's job to polish the gold and sell it in the marketplace.

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Howick

    3. Advances - If you're measuring a publisher's authenticity by whether or not they offer an advance, you're walking away from a lot of publishers who can help you with your career. An advance is *not* a measure of whether or not the publisher is authentic. Advances are starting to become rare even from the large publishers (especially for new authors).

    This is important. Advances may have been an author's perogative a century ago, but not today. Few new authors ever receive an advance. Advances are a high risk investment by the publisher. From a certain point of view, they can be viewed as a measure of the publisher's belief that your book will become a best seller. However, the smaller the publisher, the less likely the publisher is willing to take that risk. We aren't. We'd rather plow that money into marketing and promotion. Big publishers are beginning to believe the same way. If you're a best selling author, you can expect an advance. If you're not, expecting an advance is only hurting you.
    We're a small publisher that pays four to five figure advances. I have yet to hear of any author at any of the big houses that walks into a deal WITHOUT an advance. Please cite one example of that. In the grand scheme of things, an advance isn't that big of a cost when factored in with quality design, a reasonable print run, and marketing.

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Howick

    One of the most surprising trends I see on the list is the belief that a good publisher always sells tens of thousands of books and always gets everything reviewed.
    This part I agree with. Well, at least the part about tens of thousands of books being unrealistic. If you've got good product you should be able to get reviewed by at least one of the critical big 4 (Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, or Booklist).
    Last edited by Bleak House Books; 10-27-2006 at 12:52 AM.

  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  20. #20
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    'Nother imprint, Silverton House: http://www.silvertonhousepublishing.com/
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  21. #21
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Closed April '14 (from cache):

    Announcement

    It is with the most sincere regret that the directors of WindRiver Publishing, Inc. must announce the closing of our publishing house. WindRiver Publishing opened its doors in 2003 publishing a variety of books. For eleven years its principles enjoyed working with authors to bring entertaining, inspiring, and educational books to readers world-wide. However, despite early indications suggesting otherwise, the company has been unable to withstand the financial difficulties brought on by the national recession.
    ICAO
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    II 2016: 2017:

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