AW Amazon Store

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30

Thread: Quick Brown Fox Publications / White Horse Publications

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Brighton, UK
    Posts
    248

    Quick Brown Fox Publications / White Horse Publications

    Hello there,

    I'm very new to this business but sent my first three chaps off to Quick Brown Fox Publishing after reading about them in Writers' News. I got a 'standard' e-mail back but he's asking for a 20 reading fee 'to sort the serious ones from the others' ...

    I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOO disappointed now - thought it might be a good place, since they were interested in new authors. I suppose that a lot of new authors would fall for this? Am I right NOT to fall for this? Help, please. Is it EVER OK to ask for a reading fee?

    Thank you very much,
    Symphony
    Building on my successful reintroduction to writing in September ...

    JHS October: 0/15
    Blog entries: 0/10
    Minimum 100 words/day

  2. #2
    A work in progress Saundra Julian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    2,591
    Quote Originally Posted by Symphony View Post
    Hello there,

    I'm very new to this business but sent my first three chaps off to Quick Brown Fox Publishing after reading about them in Writers' News. I got a 'standard' e-mail back but he's asking for a 20 reading fee 'to sort the serious ones from the others' ...

    I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOO disappointed now - thought it might be a good place, since they were interested in new authors. I suppose that a lot of new authors would fall for this? Am I right NOT to fall for this? Help, please. Is it EVER OK to ask for a reading fee?

    Thank you very much,
    Symphony
    It's never OK to pay a publisher or an agent to read your work. Good for you, seeing them for the scam they are. Good luck with your next sub.

  3. #3
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Here and there
    Posts
    3,311
    Hi Symphony - it is NEVER acceptable for an agent to ask for a reading fee or admin fee or any other fee in exchange for reading your manuscript. Also beware critique fees whereby "agents" say that you need to pay for professional editing of a manuscript before submission - some scams will refer you to agencies/people linked back to yourself.

    The golden rule is: money flows to the author.

    Best thing you can do is check out this year's edition of the Writers & Artist's Year Book (your local library should have a copy if you don't want to pay 13 quid) and look through it to see what agents accept the kind of book you're writing. Once you've got a list, research each of those agencies on the web - that will help you weed out any that might have warnings against them (the Yearbook is pretty good about who it lists, but it's always better to be safe than sorry) and help you get an idea of who their clients are, what their successes are. Then follow their submission guidelines, rince and repeat and whilst you're waiting, work on your next manuscript.

    Best of luck.

    MM

  4. #4
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,555
    Quote Originally Posted by Symphony View Post
    I got a 'standard' e-mail back but he's asking for a 20 reading fee 'to sort the serious ones from the others' ...
    More like 'to part the fools from their money."

    The "serious ones" are the ones who say "You're kidding!" and delete the email.

    Do these guys have a website?

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Brighton, UK
    Posts
    248
    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Do these guys have a website?
    Yes - and it all looks so nice:

    http://www.quickbrownfoxpublications.co.uk/


    Poop! I say.

    And thank you to everyone for confirming my fears. On to the next one ...
    Building on my successful reintroduction to writing in September ...

    JHS October: 0/15
    Blog entries: 0/10
    Minimum 100 words/day

  6. #6
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,555
    Wow. Check out the linguistic markers on their page.

    We deal exclusively with first-time authors
    the recognition they deserve
    actively seeking submissions from first-time authors
    we accept fiction, non-fiction and childrens, and anything in between
    We only accept submissions from first-time authors
    bring your dream to reality
    genuinely looking for new submissions
    We accept fiction, non-fiction, childrens, poetry, sci-fi, and absolutely anything and everything in between.
    talented authors are rejected by literary agents and publishers because they have not been published


    Four books. Two from White Horse Publications, one from Quick Brown Fox Publications, one "We are currently in talks with a major publisher about the expected publishing date." White Horse and Quick Brown Fox are the same place.

    For more details, or for a quote, please contact us
    A quote? Sounds like pay-to-publish to me.
    Get in touch: what's the worst that could happen?
    Friend, you don't want to know.

  7. #7
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Far from the madding crowd
    Posts
    6,669
    Quote Originally Posted by Symphony View Post
    Yes - and it all looks so nice:
    Actually, there's a host of red flags just on the opening page.
    So many people dream about being published, but so few actually achieve it. We aim to change that.
    This is the old myth that new writers are unfairly shut out of the shortsighted, hidebound, nepotistic (take your pick) publishing industry. 'Tain't so. The reason so few actually achieve publication is that so few are able to produce publishable work.
    Quick Brown Fox Publications is an independent literary agent and publisher based in York, England.
    It's a conflict of interest for a literary agent and a publisher to cohabit. If the literary agency can make money by placing people with a self-owned publisher, how much incentive will it have to market clients' work to other publishers? If a publisher can place its authors with its own literary agency, will that agency serve the author's interests--or the publisher's? An important consideration if you want to sell subrights.
    We deal exclusively with first-time authors who have yet to receive the recognition they deserve.
    Again with the "new authors can't get published" mythology. No professional publisher would limit itself in this way, anyway. A range of experience is desirable.
    We are actively seeking submissions from first-time authors and we accept fiction, non-fiction and childrens, and anything in between.
    While a professional publisher won't limit itself to accepting only new authors, it will limit itself to just a few subjects/genres, in part so that it can better focus its marketing efforts. Accepting anything and everything is a warning sign of, at the very least, inexperience.
    We only deal with people who are passionate and committed about their work, simply because if you're not passionate and committed, you will fail.
    Okay. But expertise is also a good idea.

    Red flags aplenty on the About page as well. The owner, Adam Kirkman, claims "almost ten years' experience of the book trade" but doesn't provide specifics that can be verified (according to his MySpace page, he's 25, so I guess he started in the book trade when he was 15. Uh...yeah). He claims to have "rejected advances for his own debut novel and struck out on his own." Sorry, it's awfully hard to see that happening (unless the "advance" was offered by PublishAmerica). There's also this...
    We have editors and proof-readers on staff, as well as graphic designers and printers, all to handle the entire process of publication from taking your manuscript and turning it into a real book in real bookshops.
    ...the phrasing of which suggests to me, paranoid that I am, that the author may have to pay all these people.

    - Victoria

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW MMcC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    311
    It's important to remember that Writer's Digest doesn't screen their ads. An article about a publisher is one thing... an ad is another.

    Anyone can purchase ad space.

    http://www.christineolinger.com
    http://christineolinger.blogspot.com
    http://www.maureenmccarrie.com

    Hawthorne's Knot Trilogy Progress:
    Magic in the Blood 99.9%
    Magic of the Moon 35%
    Magic in His Hands 5%


  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Brighton, UK
    Posts
    248
    ooooooo - some great points here about the first page that I HADN'T spotted but that I shall file away for future reference, too. Thanks.

    Apart from the money issue, warning bells went off when I saw the e-mail address didn't actually match the supposed editor's name. All very strange ...

    I suppose I should have used my 'saved' 20 on stamps for subs - but I spent it on wine and choccies instead! Oops! (no wonder I'm not published lol)

    Symphony
    Building on my successful reintroduction to writing in September ...

    JHS October: 0/15
    Blog entries: 0/10
    Minimum 100 words/day

  10. #10
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Central Maryland
    Posts
    2,267
    Hey, wine and chocolate can be just as important.

    Refresh the soul while attempting to refresh the writing muse.

  11. #11
    Just don't send your submission in with wine and chocolate stains on it.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Brighton, UK
    Posts
    248
    Quote Originally Posted by Havlen View Post
    Just don't send your submission in with wine and chocolate stains on it.
    HA!
    Building on my successful reintroduction to writing in September ...

    JHS October: 0/15
    Blog entries: 0/10
    Minimum 100 words/day

  13. #13
    daltonmc
    Guest
    I was just wondering if anyone knew anything about www.bookmarket.com/newnovels and if they know if any of the agents listed on this site are reputable.

    I almost got swindled by wlwritersagency.com didn't happen, though.

    Just wondering.

    --d.mc.
    www.writing.com/authors/daltonmc

  14. #14
    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The desert of S. California and the coast of N. Ireland.
    Posts
    3,170
    Quote Originally Posted by daltonmc View Post
    I was just wondering if anyone knew anything about www.bookmarket.com/newnovels and if they know if any of the agents listed on this site are reputable.

    I almost got swindled by wlwritersagency.com didn't happen, though.

    Just wondering.

    --d.mc.
    www.writing.com/authors/daltonmc
    Part of your job as a writer is to do research. Determine who handles your genre, make a list, research that list, and then search this forum to see if there has already been a thread started about a particular agent/publisher you have questions about. If there isn't a thread, start a new one.

    Glad you didn't get scammed by WL, and welcome to the cooler.
    "This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever." Sigmund Freud (about the Irish)

    "Opera singers have resonance where their brains ought to be." Anna Russell

  15. #15
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Waaay West of NYC
    Posts
    861
    [quote=daltonmc;1547660]I was just wondering if anyone knew anything about www.bookmarket.com/newnovels and if they know if any of the agents listed on this site are reputable.


    Since this is a thread about Quick Brown Fox/White Horse, I'd suggest starting up a new thread - provided that a thread doesn't already exist.

    ~Nancy
    Screw the new blog, I've resurrected my old blog: Writerly Stuff.

    I twit, therefore I am?

    Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison

    It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. ~Robert Benchley

  16. #16
    adamkirkman
    Guest

    Re: QBF

    Hi there...

    Please allow me to clear a few things up about QBF/White Horse. We were originally called White Horse, but it turns out there already is a White Horse Publications, so we renamed ourselves in March 2007.

    Also, when I was 15 I did do work placements with HarperCollins, Penguin and Virgin Books, and I have continued in the book industry since then for almost ten years, as I now help manage a bookshop in York. This is my full-time job, but how many people are unhappy in their job? I started QBF as a way to self-publish my own novel, and through the various signings I did I felt that there was a lot of people out there who were unable to become published - and I wanted to help.

    My first call for submissions, in December 2006, brought only six submissions, of which I have published two with the third on its way. I did not charge for these because I can find the time to read six submissions. But 600? That's beyond me.

    As for the reading fee of 20, I implemented this after an article in Writers' News that saw me absolutely flooded with submissions. As QBF is only part-time for me, I could not give every MS the attention it deserves. It is interesting that so many people who are so keen for me to publish their poetry, for example, aren't even interested in investing a small sum of money in their own future. Plus, you'll be keen to know, that any word-of-mouth submissions I read free of charge. Furthermore, I have made it my (perhaps foolish) policy to read all submissions in their entirety. If it takes me four or five hours to read a submission in full, I am hardly making minimum wage, and when I do decide to publish a book, it takes me almost three months of working every "spare" minute I have outside my regular job and other commitments. (The videos promoting the books are filmed and edited by myself, and this is part of another project I am involved with.)

    As for co-habiting a literary agency and a publishing company, I really don't see the problem. If I can sell a novel onto a large publishing company, then I am more than happy to do that if they are better resourced than I am. One of the aims of QBF is to get books out there, to raise their profile - and then if someone is interested in buying it, we are more than happy to sell. You ask whose interests it would serve? The ultimate aim is to produce successful books, which benefits the author, the agent and the publisher.

    As for it being difficult to get published...it is. Even great books are rejected from publishers through lack of vision, or time, or resources. We all know the stories of books rescued from slush piles. I feel that literary agents and publishers are unwilling to take a risk on authors with no experience, and this creates a vicious circle.

    It is a shame that the world is so cynical as to pick holes in what I am trying to do. I'm not perfect, but I am trying something different in publishing - and so far it seems to be working. I'm not out to rip people off and I am not a vanity publisher. I am interested in making money with authors, not from them. The people that I work with (graphic designers, illustrators, website folks etc) are all people who are interested in making careers in these areas and I am giving them the chance to put some experience on their CVs (and I'll be passing along the compliments about the website to Chris.)

    Now I'm not naive enough to think that this email will have placated you...and I'm pretty sure you'll find some linguistic markers that indicate I am the devil, or something. But I can assure you, I'm not, I'm just trying to make a difference in my world. And it's hard work, but mostly fun, and the rewards are certainly not financial at this time, but it is nothing less than super cool to see Daniel Mayhew's 'Life And How To Live It' at the front of store, on promotion, in Borders stores across the country....

    So make sure you buy it. It's a great read.

    Cheers,

    Adam

  17. #17
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Here and there
    Posts
    3,311
    Hi, Adam and welcome to Absolute Write.

    adamkirkman:
    when I was 15 I did do work placements with HarperCollins, Penguin and Virgin Books, and I have continued in the book industry since then for almost ten years, as I now help manage a bookshop in York.
    With apologies for sounding rude, but if your only experience in actual publishing was a number of work experience placements back when you were still at school and now you're co-managing a book shop in York, how does that qualify you to work as an agent or publisher? When I was 15, I did a 2 week work experience placement at my local newspaper, but that doesn't qualify me to set up my own paper.

    Do you have contacts with editors at either HarperCollins, Penguin and Virgin Books who you can pitch client's work to, or are you essentially forwarding work onto their slush pile?

    adamkirkman:
    As for the reading fee of 20, I implemented this after an article in Writers' News that saw me absolutely flooded with submissions. As QBF is only part-time for me, I could not give every MS the attention it deserves. It is interesting that so many people who are so keen for me to publish their poetry, for example, aren't even interested in investing a small sum of money in their own future.
    Why did you agree to feature for Writers News if you weren't set up to deal with any increase in submissions? If you're being inundated with submissions, then that's probably because you've said you'd read anything and everything submitted. Given that you're essentially a one-man outfit, don't you think it would make more sense to concentrate on one genre of fiction and only accept submissions for that genre, which you can then focus on building publishing contacts for?

    In any event, no agent should ever be charging a reading fee for manuscripts - it's bad practice and it offers nothing to an author. As an agent, you shouldn't be reading absolutely everything submitted to you in full - someone with experience would know what they're likely to be able to sell and most can tell within the first 5 pages whether the quality of writing is such that it's worth reading on. What do you give these people for their 20? A critique (in which case you're in the wrong business because agents don't do that), or do you just take the money and give them a yes or no? In total, how much money have you made from these reading fees?

    This comment you make about "investing in their future" - what future are they investing in if you can't get them a sale with an established, commercial publisher? There's no "investment" if they're not going to get a return on that money and from the sounds of it, you're not experienced enough to do it for them.

    adamkirkman:
    If it takes me four or five hours to read a submission in full, I am hardly making minimum wage, and when I do decide to publish a book, it takes me almost three months of working every "spare" minute I have outside my regular job and other commitments. (The videos promoting the books are filmed and edited by myself, and this is part of another project I am involved with.)
    To repeat my earlier point, you shouldn't be reading everything in full unless you think you can make a sale of it. In the majority of cases, you can tell within the first 5 pages whether something's got 'legs'.

    In terms of making videos - why are you doing that? As an agent, your job is to focus on making sales to commercial publishers who will have their own marketing teams that will promote books. If you want to be a publisher, then you're far better off focusing on getting a distribution contract in place so you can actually place books within stores, which is where they have the best chance of selling.

    adamkirkman:
    As for co-habiting a literary agency and a publishing company, I really don't see the problem. If I can sell a novel onto a large publishing company, then I am more than happy to do that if they are better resourced than I am. One of the aims of QBF is to get books out there, to raise their profile - and then if someone is interested in buying it, we are more than happy to sell. You ask whose interests it would serve? The ultimate aim is to produce successful books, which benefits the author, the agent and the publisher.
    Victoria Strauss has already explained why it's a conflict of interest to have an agency and a publishing company under one roof:

    It's a conflict of interest for a literary agent and a publisher to cohabit. If the literary agency can make money by placing people with a self-owned publisher, how much incentive will it have to market clients' work to other publishers? If a publisher can place its authors with its own literary agency, will that agency serve the author's interests--or the publisher's? An important consideration if you want to sell subrights.
    But let me put it another way - as a literary agent, how many books have you sold to commercial publishers and how many of your clients' books have ended up being published by your own publication company? I see that on the page for Matt Stephens, you say that you're in talks with a major publishing company about the date for publication - those talks usually only happen when you've sold the book, in which case would you like to say who that company is?

    Do you charge authors to publish with your publishing company and if so how much on average?

    Of those books that you've published yourself, how many copies have you sold - either in bookstores in the UK or via the web?

    If you haven't sold even 1000 copies of a client's book, then how is that book successful and how has it benefited the author? If you've charged an author a fee to publish a book then if anything, the author has suffered a financial detriment because they've paid for a book that virtually no one is buying, which means they won't see a return on that 'investment'.

    adamkirkman:
    As for it being difficult to get published...it is. Even great books are rejected from publishers through lack of vision, or time, or resources. We all know the stories of books rescued from slush piles. I feel that literary agents and publishers are unwilling to take a risk on authors with no experience, and this creates a vicious circle.
    You're expressing a sentiment that's common amongst authors who've been unable to find an agent and/or publisher for their work. No one said that writing is easy and the book business is a hard one. However, it is absolute rubbish to say that neither agents or publishers are willing to take risks on authors with no experience - every author starts out as a newbie with no prior sales record. If an agent or publisher didn't take on new blood, then they wouldn't be able to grow their business. New authors get taken on every day - you only need to open the book review section of the Times or Guardian to see that every week there is at least one debut novel reviewed.

    adamkirkman:
    I am interested in making money with authors, not from them. The people that I work with (graphic designers, illustrators, website folks etc) are all people who are interested in making careers in these areas and I am giving them the chance to put some experience on their CVs (and I'll be passing along the compliments about the website to Chris.)
    If you're charging a reading fee from prospective authors and if you're charging a fee for publishing books from prospective authors, then whether you intend to or not, you are making money from them. Again - how many books have you sold and how much of that has gone back to the authors concerned?

    adamkirkman:
    And it's hard work, but mostly fun, and the rewards are certainly not financial at this time, but it is nothing less than super cool to see Daniel Mayhew's 'Life And How To Live It' at the front of store, on promotion, in Borders stores across the country....
    If you're not making money then how do you plan to stay in business? Unless you're already a millionaire, it's simply not possible to keep doing something that's costing you money and as a business (whether as an agent or a publisher), surely your goal has to be to make money?

    Are you saying that Daniel Mayhew's book is on the front-of-store promotion in Borders? Because I check out the front-of-store promotions all the time at my local Borders store and I can honestly say that his book is not there - that's not to say it's not available elsewhere, but if you have managed to place books in store, I'd be interested in knowing how many books you printed for the first run and whether you paid Borders to put the book on promotion.

    It's not a question here about picking holes in you as a person or what you're trying to do - it's about whether you are qualified to do what you're trying to do and from what you're saying, you blatently aren't and that's simply not good for authors.

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 08-16-2007 at 06:37 PM. Reason: Typo

  18. #18
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Waaay West of NYC
    Posts
    861
    Quote Originally Posted by adamkirkman View Post
    As QBF is only part-time for me, I could not give every MS the attention it deserves.

    It is a shame that the world is so cynical as to pick holes in what I am trying to do. I'm not perfect, but I am trying something different in publishing - and so far it seems to be working. I'm not out to rip people off and I am not a vanity publisher.

    Adam,

    Sorry to be blunt, but to me it sounds like QBF is a hobby for you, as you can't devote yourself full time to being an agent.

    Is that harsh? If it is, then I'm sorry, but I after being on these boards for quite a while, you feel for people who've been burned, whose wallets have been burned, usually with nothing to show for it but space where the money used to be (sometimes it's only a badly produced book, which is just as bad).

    The thing is, Adam, whether you charge 20 Pounds or 2 Pounds, what incentive is there for you to go to a small or big publisher to get someone's book published? I'm not saying you're a scammer; I think you want to do something good for other people, and that's commendable. But you're going about it the wrong way. If you take a look at the threads around here (esp. the ones on the publishing industry by people who have been in publishing for quite some time), you'll see what it take to be a legitimate agent: work as an intern at a literary agency, work as an editor at a publisher, make contacts within the industry.

    Is it an easy life, when you live completely on commissions (that's the 15% agents extract from sales to publishers)? Hell no! But that's where the incentive is for the agent; they've become the new slush piles for the majority of publishers out there, as publishers have contracted. Which also means that agents are going to be very picky as to what they choose.

    Sorry to go on like this. You seem like a pretty nice guy, but I just feel you're going about this the wrong way.

    ~Nancy
    Screw the new blog, I've resurrected my old blog: Writerly Stuff.

    I twit, therefore I am?

    Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison

    It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. ~Robert Benchley

  19. #19
    adamkirkman
    Guest

    Re: QBF

    At the moment, QBF is something that I am running in my spare time, but I see no reason why I should not be allowed to grow the business in such a way that perhaps, one day, I can quit my full-time job (despite the excellent opportunities it allows me to work with publishers, agents, authors, PR folks, retailers, wholesalers, distributors and the book-buying public) in order to fully focus on QBF.

    As for what makes me qualified to do this, let me pose a question back to you: what qualifies someone to self-publish? The ability to actually *do it* is paramount. I've just taken that the next stage further, and at no point in the publishing process am I anything less than clear with the authors about what I am doing, how I am doing it and what results I expect to get. I have found, so far, that the authors I have published are delighted with how well it is going. They remember that, until I decided to work with them, their book was simply gathering dust on a shelf or forgotten on a hard drive somewhere.

    I also feel for people who have been burned by less-than-reputable publishers or agents (one person has told me that they were ripped off to the tune of 7k, which I find incredible!) which is why I am here on this messageboard replying to this on an open forum, defending my business methods and company name. I would like to thank Richard John for actually contacting me about this, all the 'investigative' work that was done on the forum could simply have been asked of me.

    As for my business methods and sales figures, I will have to keep them to myself and the people I work with. I don't see a problem with the literary agency/publisher mix: is it so hard to believe that all I want is success for the author and the book? If it is agreed with the author to try and sell the book on, then we will: if there are no takers, then I can always publish. I see my success as a company tied up in the success of the authors and their books.

    And on the video note: what does it matter if I also record, edit and produce videos for clients? This isn't always tied in to QBF, though. Are you going to raise questions about whether or not I have the right to do that, or what makes me qualified to do that? I don't have a piece of paper that says I can edit videos: but I have the skills to do it, so I'm just getting on with it. Similarly, I could spend a lot of time on the various forums on the interweb debating the pros and cons of the way I'm publishing, but frankly - as recent tragic events in my own life has shown me - life's short, I'd rather be getting on.

    I have a distribution network in place which has allowed the books to be stocked nationally, one currently in the 'Best of the Independents' bay at Borders FOS, and I have a second distribution deal lined up with STL for 'Wake Up, Dead Man', should talks with Authentic fall through. So, you ask again what makes me qualified to do this? The fact that I'm doing it, and I'm having a fair degree of success with it.

    I am not a traditional agent, nor a traditional publisher, and anyone I work with is very aware of this. I recognise that this will irate more of you further, so flame away...

  20. #20
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    That's a good question right now.
    Posts
    14,755
    Quote Originally Posted by adamkirkman View Post
    As for what makes me qualified to do this, let me pose a question back to you: what qualifies someone to self-publish? The ability to actually *do it* is paramount.


    Many individuals who do choose to self-publish are not fully aware of what it takes to be successful at self-publishing, nor when that business model is most effective. Simply writing a book and printing it is not enough.

    Your question implies that writing a book and printing it is enough to succeed, that passion and a belief in oneself is all that it takes. That's not accurate. There are far more skills and resources needed to succeed at self-publishing than there are needed to succeed with commercial publishers.

    I also feel for people who have been burned by less-than-reputable publishers or agents (one person has told me that they were ripped off to the tune of 7k, which I find incredible!) which is why I am here on this messageboard replying to this on an open forum, defending my business methods and company name. I would like to thank Richard John for actually contacting me about this, all the 'investigative' work that was done on the forum could simply have been asked of me.
    We feel for them, too, which is why so many of our experienced members take their time and energy to examine new opportunities.

    I don't see a problem with the literary agency/publisher mix: is it so hard to believe that all I want is success for the author and the book? If it is agreed with the author to try and sell the book on, then we will: if there are no takers, then I can always publish. I see my success as a company tied up in the success of the authors and their books.


    Actually, I don't think anyone's questioned your desires. I can easily believe that you just want success for the author and the book, but your desires and dreams do not change the fact there exists an inherent conflict of interest when one individual is both a literary agent and a publisher. Your statement,
    if there are no takers, then I can always publish illustrates the conflict perfectly. It displays a laissez faire attitude, a complacency, that can easily, and often does, turn into a bad deal for the writer. With a fall-back plan already in place, that is easier and more accessible, then placing a book with another publisher, why would the "agent" choose to do all the legwork necessary to locate a publisher, examine other deals and opportunities, negotiate contracts, mediate between the writer and editor, and, in short, do everything that an agent is supposed to do when they can just place the book with their own publishing house and earn double-income as agent and publisher?

    And on the video note: what does it matter if I also record, edit and produce videos for clients? This isn't always tied in to QBF, though. Are you going to raise questions about whether or not I have the right to do that, or what makes me qualified to do that? I don't have a piece of paper that says I can edit videos: but I have the skills to do it, so I'm just getting on with it. Similarly, I could spend a lot of time on the various forums on the interweb debating the pros and cons of the way I'm publishing, but frankly - as recent tragic events in my own life has shown me - life's short, I'd rather be getting on.
    Again, our purpose here is to just look at new publishing opportunities and examine them for their pros and cons. Our interest is the writers, whose lives, also, are too short to lose time, money, and energy to business ventures that aren't a good idea.

    have a distribution network in place which has allowed the books to be stocked nationally, one currently in the 'Best of the Independents' bay at Borders FOS, and I have a second distribution deal lined up with STL for 'Wake Up, Dead Man', should talks with Authentic fall through.
    Tell us more about your distribution network.

    So, you ask again what makes me qualified to do this? The fact that I'm doing it, and I'm having a fair degree of success with it.
    How are you measuring that success? What are your guideposts?

    I am not a traditional agent, nor a traditional publisher, and anyone I work with is very aware of this. I recognise that this will irate more of you further, so flame away...
    No one here has flamed you. This isn't about you; it's not personal. We're simply looking at your business model and examining its feasibility for writers. Does it irritate you that we also have their best interests at heart?

  21. #21
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Here and there
    Posts
    3,311
    Adam - I am not making any remarks about you as a person - rather I am pointing out the very serious problems with your agency/publishing unit and the lack of experience that you have to work for or with new authors. In addition (and whilst it probably will not suit you to believe this), I am not irate either with you or with your company. What I am though is concerned that so many people seem to be submitting to you, when you don't seem able to offer them anything particularly worthwhile.

    adamkirkman:
    let me pose a question back to you: what qualifies someone to self-publish? The ability to actually *do it* is paramount.
    You don't need qualifications to self-publish - I could go down to my local printers and ask them to print and bind 500 copies of my book if I wanted to. If getting books physically produced was all it took to be a publisher, then everyone would be doing it and everyone would be making money out of it. Unfortunately, to be a successful publisher (by which I mean a publisher who makes enough money to support itself via the sales of books), you need to have book distribution in place in actual book stores. To go back to my example, there's very little point in my printing up 500 copies of a book if I can't get them into my local Waterstones/Borders/WH Smith etc. I'm left with 500 books that I could only sell to friends or family or at car boot sales and the chances are I'm not going to make any money doing that - in fact, I'm likely to lose money doing that, which is why it's not always in an author's interest to self-publish.

    In any event if you are a self-publisher (and you seem to be admitting that you are), then you need to make that clear on your website because you are claiming to have had "commercial success" with your current authors:

    Quick Brown Fox website:
    The critical success of Eyes... paved a way for the commercial success of Daniel Mayhew's Life And How To Live It, which is constantly reprinting to meet demand, and Brian McCusker's SAS: Special Ace Supply (Teacher) which has taken on and destroyed the Gervais Phinn market.
    How do you define what the "commercial success" of Daniel Mayhew's book was? Traditionally, you define it in the number of sales - if you don't want to give an exact figure for the number of copies sold, then can you at least give a ball-park figure? More than 1000? Less than 1000? That shouldn't be confidential information - check out The Sunday Times bestseller lists - they set out the number of copies sold of each book per week.

    adamkirkman:
    at no point in the publishing process am I anything less than clear with the authors about what I am doing, how I am doing it and what results I expect to get. I have found, so far, that the authors I have published are delighted with how well it is going. They remember that, until I decided to work with them, their book was simply gathering dust on a shelf or forgotten on a hard drive somewhere.
    Okay - what results are you trying to get? What kind of expectations do your authors have? Are you telling authors that you can actually get their books on bookshelves in bookstores or are you just offering up a printed, bound copy of their work that they can hold in their hands?

    adamkirkman:
    I also feel for people who have been burned by less-than-reputable publishers or agents (one person has told me that they were ripped off to the tune of 7k, which I find incredible!) which is why I am here on this messageboard replying to this on an open forum, defending my business methods and company name.
    If you take a 20 reading fee from someone and then decide that you don't want to represent their book, do you refund the 20? How did you arrive at the figure of 20 in the first place? Don't you think that it's misleading to represent yourself as an agent if you can't place a person's book with a mainstream publisher? Don't you think it's misleading to offer up "commercial success" if you're selling a small number of copies?

    adamkirkman:
    And on the video note: what does it matter if I also record, edit and produce videos for clients? This isn't always tied in to QBF, though. Are you going to raise questions about whether or not I have the right to do that, or what makes me qualified to do that?
    I haven't raised any questions about whether you have a right to make videos. I asked why on earth you'd want to do it in the first place. You're already admitting in your posts that you're running an agency and a publishing company in your spare time. Why cut into that time even more by making videos? How do you see the manufacture of videos on the internet as helping to sell books or promote your authors? Is this your only marketing strategy? Has it actually helped you to sell more copies of books?

    adamkirkman:
    I have a distribution network in place which has allowed the books to be stocked nationally, one currently in the 'Best of the Independents' bay at Borders FOS, and I have a second distribution deal lined up with STL for 'Wake Up, Dead Man', should talks with Authentic fall through.
    So just to clarify, you're currently in talks with Authentic about 'Wake Up, Dead Man'? Is that the Authentic owned by STL UK and which is a Christian publisher?

    adamkirkman:
    I have a distribution network in place which has allowed the books to be stocked nationally, one currently in the 'Best of the Independents' bay at Borders FOS, and I have a second distribution deal lined up with STL for 'Wake Up, Dead Man', should talks with Authentic fall through.
    With these distribution deals - are you saying that Daniel Mayhew's book is physically available in all Borders stores in the UK, i.e. I can walk into any Borders store, check out its independent publisher shelves and pick up a copy - or is it available to order from any Borders store in the UK?

    Secondly, is this true of all other books published by your company?

    You say that you're here to defend your company and its reputation, but I notice that you have not answered some of the specific questions I raised in my previous post:

    - Do you have contacts with editors at either HarperCollins, Penguin and Virgin Books who you can pitch client's work to, or are you essentially forwarding work onto their slush pile?

    - Do you charge authors to publish with your publishing company and if so how much on average?

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 08-16-2007 at 09:51 PM.

  22. #22
    Now departed. Rest in peace, Scott, from all of us at AW Requiescat In Pace Popeyesays's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,461
    "adamkirkman:
    If it takes me four or five hours to read a submission in full, I am hardly making minimum wage, and when I do decide to publish a book, it takes me almost three months of working every "spare" minute I have outside my regular job and other commitments. (The videos promoting the books are filmed and edited by myself, and this is part of another project I am involved with.) "

    Okay, this is precisely WHY it's a conflict of interest. Let's define the term since we can't get anywhere if we don't understand what it means:

    "conflict of interest
    n. a situation in which a person has a duty to more than one person or organization, but cannot do justice to the actual or potentially adverse interests of both parties. This includes when an individual's personal interests or concerns are inconsistent with the best for a customer, or when a public official's personal interests are contrary to his/her loyalty to public business. An attorney, an accountant, a business adviser or realtor cannot represent two parties in a dispute and must avoid even the appearance of conflict. He/she may not join with a client in business without making full disclosure of his/her potential conflicts, he/she must avoid commingling funds with the client, and never, never take a position adverse to the customer."

    If you are the agent it is your interest to find the most beneficial deal for your client. If you are publishing the book for the client instead of repping it to others, then you have TWO interests both of which are YOUR interests and neither is the client' interest.

    Surely, you can see that is true.

    Reading fees are forbidden by U.S. agnet's associations, and are highly frowned upon by those associations in the UK.

    If those associations would revoke your status as an agent (if you ever had it in the first place) it is because you are acting in an unethical manner.

    The only cure for unethical actions is to STOP doing so.

    your business is less than ethical and in many jurisdictions would leave you open to claims of fraud.

    Persist at your own risk, but don't drag your clients down with you.

    regards,
    Scott

    P.S. If you are reading every submission in full, then you have no concept of time meanagement or good agenting. 99%+ of what you receive is not salable in the first place.

    S.
    [B]Okay, damnit, I blog [URL]http://cscottsaylorsbooks.blogspot.com/[/URL][/B]
    [B]Sword of the Dajjal[/B] e-book, [SIZE=2]Published by BooksForABuck.com May, 2007 ISBN: 978-1-602-052-2 [URL]http://www.booksforabuck.com/sfpages/sf_07/sword_dajjal.html[/URL][/SIZE]
    Out in print early 2008 from Blu Phi'er[URL="http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook47261.htm?cached"][/URL]
    [B]Jars of Doom[/B] out mid 2008 from Blu Phi'er
    [URL]http://www.bluphier.com/[/URL]

  23. #23
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,555
    I wouldn't say "is" unethical. I'd say "gives the appearance of" or "is potentially."

    Reading fees are certainly open to abuse. Some agent (I'm not saying any particular individual here, just someone in general) might say, "Darn! I have to buy more cat food! I know -- I'll request a full manuscript from the next query letter I get. Fluffy will have her Ocean Tuna Treats!"

    Conflicts of interest are all around us. When you go to the doctor and he prescribes a certain medicine you want to be sure that he's prescribing it because it's medically necessary, not because he's getting a kickback from the drug manufacturer. That's why it's necessary to not only avoid actual unethical behavior but the appearance of unethical behavior.

  24. #24
    adamkirkman
    Guest

    Re: QBF

    For the agency/publisher mix, it is deeply cynical to suggest earning double income as agent and publisher - this is not, and will never be, the case. All I am suggesting is that, if Wake Up Dead Man, for example, is not picked up by Authentic, then at least I can guarantee the book will make it into print, which I know is the desire of both Matt Stephens and I.

    My main distribution network is through Gardners and Borders, seeing as my day job is with them. I am hoping that, with continued success, I can approach other high street retailers to stock copies, but I am still very wary of overextending myself. The classic trap of ending up with a thousand unsold copies still hangs over the business, and I do not have the resources to absorb such a hit in the manner of larger publishing companies (whose wasteful marketing strategies are, frankly, terrifying.)

    I am measuring success by the fact that, with little to no marketing costs, my clients' books are selling to the book-buying public. I was a self-publisher: I have grown beyond that, but I am still very small. I think we have sold our 1,000th book so far, and I would determine that as a commercial success. Not in the leagues of your better-known authors, or publishers, certainly, but guess what? I'm not dealing with better-known authors! In fact, one of the most exciting prospects to come out of QBF is partnership with a London literary scout, and through them publishers worldwide are reading QBF books with a view to buying foreign and translation rights. That's something that these authors could not have achieved without me.

    Yes, I currently have a lack of experience. But when you look at the progress I've made in the past year, the results are very encouraging, for me personally and for the authors I represent. I am only going to get better and smarter about this, and that is good news for all involved!

    With regards to people submitting to me, they clearly think there is something I can offer them. Don't forget, I'm often dealing with people who have suffered rejection before and are unable to find a home for their book, and it is my intention to give their book another chance. Which is why I read a submission in its entirety, which I admit is neither a great use of time, nor particularly smart: but it remains one of the promises I made to myself at the start, to give people their dues. Particularly if I do charge for them, which seems to be a major taboo. But if you are after someone's time, how do you generally get it? This is why people take you out to lunch: to buy you food, effectively buying your time.

    With regards to the videos, it is something I also enjoy and another source of income. You question that it cuts into my time: well, so does the football matches I play, the work I do for my church, or the time I spend in the pub....! I happen to think videos are a useful tool for promoting the book, as was demonstrated at the few gigs Dan's book has been available at. After showing the video, we sold some books. (I guess it helps that the audience were a bit drunk, too. But, sales are sales.)

    Yes, Dan's book (and mine, for that matter) are in-store in every Borders store across the country. The teaching book is undergoing assessment at the moment (as it is non-fiction and my contact with Borders is primarily fiction) but I am confident that they will take the book national. Naturally, all the books are available to order from any bookshop with access to Bookdata and an account with Gardners, or they can order it through QBF.

    Yes, I do have contacts at HarperCollins and Penguin, but no longer at Virgin, although I do have one at Bloomsbury now. Similarly, I have contacts within a London literary scout which have proved exciting at the very least, and also within a New York publisher and two Greek publishers.

    Yes, currently authors and myself go halves on the print costs of the first print run of books. Note that's only the print costs of the books - I make no money from the author. The theory is that selling the first print run of books generates enough profit (which is split equally between the author and myself) to fund a second print run, which then starts making enough money to pay royalties, which stay at the 50-50 split. This way I am growing a business and we avoid the classic pitfall of having a thousand unsold copies, which some publishers can swallow and move on from but I cannot.

    Ok, that's it for now. I'm actually on holiday from my day job, but am spending it doing QBF things, which I'm not making money on. I'll admit, what I'm doing doesn't exactly fall into publishing, self-publishing or agency work, but I'll say it again: it is working. I'm away for a few days now...

  25. #25
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Coastal Desert
    Posts
    13,098
    Update, from their front page:

    The collapse of one of the UK's leading high street book chains left QBF severely in the lurch: whereas larger publishers are perhaps able to absorb the cost of unpaid invoices, the same is sadly not true for us. This has left us with a very difficult decision - do we call a halt to this wonderful publishing venture, or do we find another way for authors to succeed?

    We aren't ready to let this thing die, however, so we're finding another way to keep going, adapting with the circumstances that 2009 has brought us. We can't stick to the old model of publishing any more, so we're offering something new. Step forward Lively Dog: a customisable publishing experience that may just be perfect for you.

    Please head over to the Lively Dog website for more information. Lively Dog is a sister company to QBF, which we hope will return to prominence in a few years, once we've recovered the losses for the recent collapse of one of the UK's leading high street book chains. It's been a great few years: thanks for all the good times. Our back catalogue is still available so keep buying, help us out! We'll be back, so we'll see you soon.
    And yet all links (http://www.livelydog.co.uk/) redirect back to Quick Fox.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 01-27-2010 at 07:48 PM. Reason: context
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search