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Thread: JSC Books / Journey Stone Creations

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW BrookieCookie777's Avatar
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    JSC Books / Journey Stone Creations

    Has anyone heard if JSC Books or Journey Stone Creations is going belly up?
    "Cowards die many times before their deaths,
    The valiant never taste of death but once."


    - Shakespeare

  2. #2
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Well, their website doesn't say anything about it. From all accounts they seem to still be up and running.
    "All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream." Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #3
    Poison Pen
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    Angry Journey Stone - all contracts to be released!!

    No, Journey Stone is not going out of business. Nor are they bankrupt. Instead, they have changed their direction. Just recently they decided they will no longer publish books for the general marketplace, in favor of pursuing custom-made projects instead. The decision was an abrupt one, and as a result, they are dishonoring all contracts with all authors who had books pending with them. Authors, like me, who have have sent countless e-mails in search of answers, only for their e-mails to go ignored, should be receiving their releases in the mail soon. How do I know this......because when I failed to receive information and artwork and a press release, as was promised to me only a few weeks ago, for my book that was supposed to have been released this month (May 07), I called the office to ask what was happening. This was the third failed release date in a row, as the book was supposedly coming out in fall/06, then it was delayed till March 07, then it was delayed again until May 07, with JSC citing various "printer problems" here and there. During this time I was offered 3 (three) letters of intent for 3 more of my books. Only 7 weeks ago they assured me everything was back on track and sent me a contract for a second book, leaving letters of intent in place for the remaining two books. Altogether these four books formed a small series, and I was told two would be released in 2007, the other two pending in 2008. While I've waited for the release of the first book, I have done a ton of promotion, securing deals for sales with school boards and libraries, plus promotional promises from a parenting magazine. I even went so far as to register for an appearance at a prominent upcoming book event, in order to hype the series, especially as I was "promised" the first book would be ready to go on time, and I would have a large supply on hand to feature at my booth. Now I have to go back to all of these companies/events and explain that the contracts were suddenly cancelled, with no kill fee to speak of, and the company is "sorry that they overextended themselves by taking on far too many contracts." Apparently, they did not consider the contracts binding, and had to 'do what was best for the company', including dishonoring advances. If money was an issue, I suggested they should have honored the contracts already on board, but refused to take on any more, thereby slowly phasing out the general marketplace books, rather than being in breach of contract with several authors and subjecting them to this kind of humiliating treatment. I wish I could locate all authors in the same position to discuss a class action suit.

  4. #4
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Sounds like a publisher in serious trouble to me.

    Writer Beware hasn't yet gotten any complaints about this publisher. Poison Pen, could you write to me directly with the information in your post at beware@sfwa.org? And please encourage others who may have had the same experience to get in touch with me also.

    - Victoria

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    Sounds like a publisher in serious trouble to meAnd please encourage others who may have had the same experience to get in touch with me also..
    Yes it does SOUND like a publisher in serious trouble doesn't it. It also SOUNDS like mabye you need a little more information which you seem to be seeking. Good on you. I'm reading these post though and going, huh? My debut novel was published by Journey Stone Creations. They promised an advance, I got it. They promised to print 5000 books they did it. They promised the books would be at the BEA in May of 2006 for me to sign and give away 250 (but hinted that they might not show up) but all was fine.

    Whoa!

    I guess I dodged a bullet. The only real problem I've had with this publisher is that I've had to do all the work to get my book out there. Sadly, that's the case with most new and growing publishers.

    But all this I'm reading here. My! My! I'm sure I'd want more information, possbly from the other side. I think I shall call first thing in the morning. Very interesting news here, I must say.

    And not that anyone is waiting for my permission, but if it turns out to be all true, true true . . . well, then full speed ahead!
    Last edited by sdent1; 06-03-2007 at 08:25 PM.

  6. #6
    haz a shiny new book cover Christine N.'s Avatar
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    Sdent, publishing, for all that it moves slowly when it comes to production, can change very quickly when it comes to business.

    Things that were true a year ago may not be today.
    Christine

    Young Adult Fantasy Author

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    "The Watchmaker's Ball" (short story), to be included in BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT (anthology), coming April 14 from Leap Books


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  7. #7
    So it would seem! I'm just very glad I only signed on to do one book. I'd say that was smart thinking. Although I'm not sure I gave it much thought at the time.

    I do hope all works out for the others.

    Not holding to contracts or promises, *shaking head back and forth at the prospect* Not good. Not good at all!

  8. #8
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    No, Journey Stone is not going out of business. Nor are they bankrupt. Instead, they have changed their direction.
    Point three often precedes point two and point one. In that order.

  9. #9
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    They promised to print 5000 books they did it.

    That's an offset print run in anybody's book. The fact that they make the author do all of the pub and sales, speaks volumns about how little they know of business and generating sales. 5,000 books is a whopping expense for a publisher and you would think that they had some type of major marketing/distribution system in place to recoup that investment. A lone author would not have the resources or contacts to sell-through that number unless they had an very big platform, or scheduled appearances on major TV network stations. Find proof that they have warehoused that amount of inventory. Start there. It's easy for a publisher to throw numbers out there.

    Tri

  10. #10
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdent1 View Post
    The only real problem I've had with this publisher is that I've had to do all the work to get my book out there. Sadly, that's the case with most new and growing publishers.
    Not.

    Authors are well-advised to self-promote, no matter who their publisher is. Authors with smaller publishers may have to do more than authors with bigger houses. But any "new" publisher that's serious about being successful will do all it can to market and promote its books, including the behind-the-scenes, pre-publication marketing that's essential for a book to sell in volume. If you find you're having to do ALL the work, there's a problem.

    - Victoria

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by sdent1
    Sadly, that's the case with most new and growing publishers.
    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    Not.
    Oh, right! Sorry. That did sound a bit like I knew what I was talking about there didn't it, as if I could speak from years of vast experience. *still learning the ropes myself* I should have added, IMO or rather "this is what I've found to be true in my very limited experience as a published author." (though I suppose that is even in question now, eh?)

    Quote Originally Posted by sdent1
    The only real problem I've had with this publisher is that I've had to do all the work to get my book out there.
    Yes, this is the only real problem I've had. But even that's not really a problem for me because I planned on doing it all myself anyway. This was my debut novel. The chances of me selling in volume, even with a good publisher--well, what are the odds. But again, that's just my opinion.

    And yikes! I hope that doesn't sound like I'm defending any of what Journey Stone has supposedly done!!! Far from it!
    Last edited by sdent1; 06-04-2007 at 04:50 AM.

  12. #12
    Poison Pen
    Guest

    Angry I've attached JSC quote from my e-mail

    To SDent - I am familiar with you and your JSC book. I am glad to hear your contract worked out as you had hoped and been promised. But I would think that is because your release took place a full year ago. As much as my news may come as a shock to you, it is no less true. It doesn't just SOUND any particular way. It IS this way, as I have already received a phone call from the owner to substantiate everything I was told the day before by the acquisitions department. The only reason authors are in the dark as yet, is because the contract releases did not go out in the mail until just last week, I was told. According to the "brainchild" of the operation (as proclaimed on the website) the financial picture has changed because they took on far too many contracts without having enough distribution in place to make it worth their while. Duh! They had hoped for 10,000 book print runs per book to compensate for the expensive full color illustrations, but it just wasn't happening. Instead they were getting more along the line of 3000 book print runs. While I can appreciate the expense associated with children's picture books and the need to turn a profit, I am at a loss to understand the business sense behind continuing to offer contracts as recently as a few weeks ago. In hind sight I realize it was naive of me to sign the contract, knowing the first was experiencing setbacks. In my defense, however, I guess that after a full year's worth of promotion on my part, I desperately wanted to believe their most recent correspondence which assured me everything was back on track, especially they went on to enlighten me on what I could expect next. And, silly me, I was under impression that contracts were binding, and since I had very recent correspondence in place to verifiy the contract and current proceedsings, I was under the impression that everything would be alright. But certainly their financial picture didn't appear overnight. This is obviously something that has been brewing for a while. The decision to do something about it may well have been abrupt, but the knowledge that they wished to pursue "custom-made projects" and the research required to do exactly that, is something that must have been in the works for some time.

    I'm unsure as to whether this will include existing authors, such as yourself. All I know is that the follow-up e-mail I was sent states:

    "Journey Stone Creations has reached a turning point in its development. At the present time, we are becoming very involved in custom-made products with several clients. This new venue is encompassing all of our time and energy. Based on this, we will not be publishing books for the general marketplace.

    We are sorry for any disappointment this may cause you, and we wish you the best of luck in future publishing endeavors."


    Seemingly they don't expect any backlash from such an abrupt decision. Authors are just supposed to accept it with a grain of salt. All I know is that if the shoe was on the other foot and I had been the one to abruptly back out of a binding contract, leaving them high and dry after a year's work, they would have their legal department (if they have one) all over me like ants on a picnic basket.

  13. #13
    I'm just so very grateful I didn't sign on for more than one book but that was more of my being a bit wary because this was a new publisher. I'd read of so many others different experiences with new publishers, many on this site and others like it! Some good, some not so good.

    Thank-you for sharing all that you shared. So much to watch out for in this business, it seems. I do wish you the best. And I hope you don't think I was questioning your experiences.

    Yikes! This was post number 13. *quickly throws cyber salt over shoulder* Whew! That was close.
    Last edited by sdent1; 06-04-2007 at 09:43 PM.

  14. #14
    Poison Pen
    Guest
    To Sdent: Whether or not you signed a second contract is not the point. If you read the quote I posted, taken directly from I e-mail I received from acquisitions, it states they "will NOT be publishing books for the general marketplace." and "this new venue is encompassing ALL of our time and energy." If that is true, then your first contact will be affected, as they will no longer print or promote the book. More than likely, what you have in the way of personal stock of the book, is what you will be left with. leaving you as a victim, too.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by sdent1 View Post
    Oh, right! Sorry. That did sound a bit like I knew what I was talking about there didn't it, as if I could speak from years of vast experience. *still learning the ropes myself* I should have added, IMO or rather "this is what I've found to be true in my very limited experience as a published author." (though I suppose that is even in question now, eh?)



    Yes, this is the only real problem I've had. But even that's not really a problem for me because I planned on doing it all myself anyway. This was my debut novel. The chances of me selling in volume, even with a good publisher--well, what are the odds. But again, that's just my opinion.

    And yikes! I hope that doesn't sound like I'm defending any of what Journey Stone has supposedly done!!! Far from it!
    Even with a small press, an author should not have to do all the marketing. Publishers that expect this from authors tend to go out of business. Authors who expect this usually are new ones just learning, and their efforts can sometimes even get in the way of the publisher's marketing department. The author's marketing campaign needs to be tailored to the book, the situation, and the readers that can be reached more easily by the author than by the publisher.

    Debut novels often do well at a good publisher. Good publishers tend to take on quality debut novels, and it is (relatively) easy to create excitement about a new author who just might be the next big thing. Second and third novels are the ones that are hard to sell, if the first one didn't do well.

  16. #16
    Poison Pen
    Guest
    These are not novels we are talking about, nor is it my first venture in the publishing realm. These are children's books - full color illustrated children's books that look much along the line of "Little Golden Books". And, no, the publisher did not expect the author to do all of the promoting. They were big enough that they had a PR department in place, that issued press releases, scheduled book signings and appearances, scheduled interviews, etc. Since most of the promo is US based and I am not located in the US, I chose to pursue local avenues for promotion, which was acceptable to publisher as it did not overlap their efforts or step on anyone's toes.

  17. #17
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    http://www.jscbooks.com/index.php

    Looks like yet another case of self-publisher thinking that qualifies them to publish others.

    Anyone care to exercise 20/20 hindsight and list the red flags?
    ICAO
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    II 2016: 2017:

  18. #18
    Poison Pen
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    Angry Red Flags

    Good observation, and no doubt the red flags were there. I just didn't want to see them at the time, especially as this particular publisher came recommended by several writer's sites and several authors. In hind sight; however, flags were flying that indeed something was amiss.

    1) several books on the catalogue were written by the owner, listed in the "About Us" section as the "brainchild"

    2) The website was not updated regularly.

    3) Delayed release dates - no apologies

    4) Correspondence went ignored for weeks, sometimes months, sometimes altogether

    3) I received a production schedule and release date for the second book, but they hadn't yet issued me a contract for it and didn't seem to realize it.

    4) The acquisitions department was rejecting submissions that had already been rejected over a year ago, because they claimed they remained in the pile.

    5) The second contract was sent to me with the final page missing. They never noticed and were surprised when I e-mailed to request instruction.

    And on and on..........

  19. #19
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Add to that: No apparent experience in publishing and planning to put out 200 titles/year after just three years in business.

    Journey Stone Creations, LLC was actually started in September, 2003 and then incorporated in January of 2004. The brainchild of Patricia Stirnkorb, she has always dreamed of owning a publishing company. As an avid writer and photographer, Stirnkorb has done a variety of communications projects in the past 20-plus years. However, after publishing four children’s books with another company, the desire to have her own company began to grow.
    When she met a local artist, she commissioned her to illustrate a series of books that are now known as the A.W.A. Gang, or Angels with Attitudes. Based on the true-life friendship of a group of ladies, this spirited group of kids became the signature series for Journey Stone Creations, LLC. The name Journey Stone is actually taken from the AWA Gang books, as the earth angels use their own journey stones to get back and forth from heaven to earth.

    Journey Stone’s company mission statement is to reach children of all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economic ranges and plant a seed that God is out there and He loves them. Journey Stone originally published inspirational books and then branched off into high-quality moral products, instituting a strong message to parents and children alike—good stories help reinforce good moral values. If the child also meets God in the process, it is an added bonus.

    Journey Stone has grown over the last three years from three titles to plans for more than 200 over the next twelve months. We believe it has been because of our dedication to our values and our standards. So come on, Come Grow With Us!

  20. #20
    Poison Pen
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    Talking

    I just re-read my post.....laughable. Here I am passing judgement when, apparently, I cannot count. I apologize for numbering my points as I did, and for any spelling errors I have made along the way. Seemingly my brain is getting ahead of my fingers. All I can say is, that's frustration for you!!!!!

    But at this point I would like to add yet one more point that truly baffles me. As the parent of a young child, I am aware of the price of children's full-color picture books. Therefore, I found it surprising that JSC priced theirs at a mere $2.99 each. Most comparable books in my daughter's collection are at least $3.99, if not double that price. So, if money is an issue, which I was told it was, wouldn't it have made more sense for them to have bumped their prices and tried it that way for a while, as opposed to switching gears and dumping their authors and contracts?

  21. #21
    Lots being said here and it seems I've said enough.

    God Bless.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW BrookieCookie777's Avatar
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    They are all over Sue Dent like white on rice. Hope she continues to prosper. I'm glad I got out when I did . . . I don't want to be chained to that. Plus - we all signed a first option clause. Let's all just praise Jesus . . . we are free from this bad deal!
    "Cowards die many times before their deaths,
    The valiant never taste of death but once."


    - Shakespeare

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW BrookieCookie777's Avatar
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    I was just reading my previous post and realize that came out all wrong! Sue has won some awards and seems to be getting good reviews. I just hope they don't mess that up for her.
    "Cowards die many times before their deaths,
    The valiant never taste of death but once."


    - Shakespeare

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW BrookieCookie777's Avatar
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    JSC BOOKS - HELP!

    I am an author whose contract has been terminated like so many at JSC Books. They are claiming money troubles or something to that nature. I've been promised a letter to verify I am free and clear of all binding contracts with them, along with an official statement all rights are being returned to me.

    I just signed with a top agent to take the book that was dropped and try to sell it. I asked about the letter again yesterday - editor said she'd get back to me in a few hours and see if they have been mailed. Hours past . . . seven hours - wrote back and asked again. Got no response. It's been a day and half since the promised answer to my question.

    Is anyone else in the same boat with them or associated with them? Have any of you recieved your letters? I hope they don't leave us high and dry. This will really mess things up for us.

    Hugs to all you going thru this craziness!! God bless!
    "Cowards die many times before their deaths,
    The valiant never taste of death but once."


    - Shakespeare

  25. #25
    5 W's & an H Sassenach's Avatar
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    Ask your agent to send a demand letter to the publisher.
    I feel God in this Chili's.
    -Pam Beesley









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