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Thread: Harbor House Books

  1. #1
    didi768
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    Harbor House Books

    Has anyone heard of this company? They have my husbands whole manuscript.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    vstrauss
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    Re: Harbor House books anyone?

    If this is Harbor House in Georgia, I've received reports that it offers pay-to-publish contracts--the author is asked to agree to buy large quantities of finished books.

    If your husband does get an offer like this, would you please post here, or contact me at Writer Beware? beware@sfwa.org.

    - Victoria

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Harbor House

    Hi, has anyone dealth with Harbor House out of Augusta Georgia? There is a tag on Predators and Editors about poor contract for writers--has anyone had personal experience with them, good or bad? thanks.

  4. #4
    banned as an incurable tosspot Ed Williams's Avatar
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    Hey Ramis...

    ...I'm from Georgia, my latest book was published by River City Publishing over in Montgomery. Re Harbor House, I have met several of the principles at various Southern book festivals over the past couple of years. Very nice, professional people. Have heard a little grumbling too about low or poor royalty payouts as well. I would advise you to be careful, message me privately for more info.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    thank you for responding so quickly. I will email you directly. Anyone else with info out there?

  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Harbor House offers contracts that require authors to purchase large numbers of their finished books--several thousand dollars in expense. I've gotten several reports of this.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 05-25-2005 at 03:25 AM.

  7. #7
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Hello, newbie here. I've been enjoying this site immensely for the past month, and this thread actually relates to my husband's situation. He recently received a publishing offer from Harbor House: a small but not unreasonable advance against a 7% royalty.

    HH took six months to the day to review his manuscript. We are currently waiting for the contract.

    Some healthy paranoia has kicked in as a result of some postings I found here regarding HH. The question seems to be is it a legit house, a vanity press, or maybe both?

    Seems odd that a vanity press would wait six months to try and get our money.

    Needless to say, we will be scrutinizing the contract with the proverbial fine-toothed comb. Any more info would of course be greatly appreciated.

  8. #8
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    If they require the author to purchase large numbers of their own books, they're a vanity press.

  9. #9
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Clara, I'll be interested to know what sort of offer your husband gets. The writers I've heard from have not been offered advances; they've been told their books are "risky" and that they need to help "minimize" the risk by agreeing to pre-purchase 1,000 copies of their books at a discount. I've long suspected that Harbor House does offer both vanity and conventional contracts (which would make it rather unusual; most publishers that offer vanity contracts just do vanity). Since an advance has been mentioned, I'm guessing that your husband will receive a conventional contract. 7% royalties sounds low, though--especially if it's 7% of net.

    I think it would be well worth your while to have the contract vetted by an intellectual property lawyer with publishing experience (publishing contracts are very specialized documents, and an ordinary attorney probably won't be able to advise you properly). Even where they don't engage in shady practices, smaller publishers often have nonstandard contracts with undesirable terms.

    - Victoria

  10. #10
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Thank you, Victoria. My husband said he will definitely consider some kind of legal assistance. We really appreciate all of your input in what is emerging as a complicated decision.

    Also, I forgot to mention that the book, if he signs the contract, will not be released until Spring 2007. In some ways, yes, this sounds like a lowball deal. However, considering my husband has never had anything published before, to us it will hopefully be worth having to pay the dues this way, so to speak. I suppose it helps that he has a screenplay currently in production; one en route to the same status; and we cowrote a book that is currently being considered by a very reputable lit agency (I take it a "second read" is a good thing?! ). So if HH's deal isn't the greatest, it's one of several projects on the burners.

    One other question: Does HH's membership with SEBA mean anything, d'ya think? Needless to say, if there is any hint of us having to pay HH *any* amount of money to supplement costs, my husband said he will look elsewhere.

    We will keep you posted regarding the contract.

    cb

  11. #11
    jacobnesau
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    Harbor House

    I have just received a contract from Harbor House, and the contract says nothing about the author being required to buy any amount of books. The contract also specifies a $500.00 advance and a 7% royalty on the retail price of the deluxe trade paperback edition. This is my second book contract, and, while I am certainly not a specialist in this area, the contract appeared to be on the level. The release date of my book isn't until Fall 2007. While I admit that this is a bit of a disappointment, there are other circumstances involved that make it worth the wait.

    Good luck to your husband, Clara Bow. Perhaps we will meet sometime as authors published by Harbor House.
    Last edited by jacobnesau; 03-31-2005 at 03:27 AM.

  12. #12
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Thanks and kudos, Jacob! Congratulations on your offer, and your kind words are much appreciated. Yes, maybe our paths will cross. My husband's contract will be in the mail soon. I'll keep a postin'!

  13. #13
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    btw, one of HH's current new authors has a website; it's www.thegreeterbook.com. She has a blog, and shares some of the experiences of going through the publishing process with them. Might yield folks some helpful information.

  14. #14
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    So it looks as if Harbor House does offer both kinds of contracts. Very interesting.

    - Victoria

  15. #15
    jacobnesau
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    Thanks, Clara. I'll check out that website.

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    historical fiction

    does anyone know of a good small press who might be interested in historical fiction from the Civil War era?

  17. #17
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Harbor House is seeking submissions in this area:

    http://www.harborhousebooks.com/guidelines.html

    ...but I'm not sure of how good they are. See the recent HH thread for more info. If my husband decides to publish his book with them, I can post more info about the process if it helps you decide. But I would think there would be a number of southern regional publishers that would be reputable. Maybe check the southeast booksellers association? http://www.sebaweb.org/

  18. #18
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    ha ha, oh yeah, you were already there! sorry. guess I need some more coffee.

  19. #19
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    maybe these folks:

    http://www.blairpub.com/intro.htm

    My husband submitted a nonfiction book to them. They seemed pretty professional so far as I could tell (and discriminating, heh, as the manu was rejected).

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    thank you for your suggestions.

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW ScottAJohnson's Avatar
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    Couldn't help but log in about this one. I'm one of Harbor House's authors. Here's my experience coming with three books and a possible three more next year...
    First, they've NEVER asked me to buy books, much less significant numbers, unless I was taking them to a convention to sell them myself. In fact, it was I who asked them about buying them.
    Second, they offer an advance that is negotiable. $500 seems to be the norm, and from what I've heard, is not bad for a first-time author. Royalties are similarly negotiable.
    They are not a vanity press.
    They ask for author input on cover ideas (and will shoot down the bad ones) and hire good artists for their covers.
    Downsides are, yes, the advance is a tad lower than I'd like, but as I'm still new, I'm willing to pay my dues (so to speak). Also, they expect you to do alot of your own promoting. Again, nothing to gripe about there, really.

    Like I said, this is just my experiences with them. I've found them good to work with.
    In case you're wondering, I'm the guy that wrote An American Haunting (see their website) and I have another fiction book, Deadlands, that is to be the first of their new BatWing press line. I also have a book of nonfiction/folklore coming out that is about real ghost stories called The Mayor's Guide to the Stately Ghosts of Augusta, which is the first of a series of books.
    All that to say, they've never treated me like anything other than a professional.

    Just my $.02, for what it's worth.

    Scott A. Johnson
    http://www.americanhorrorwriter.com
    http://www.horrorchannel.com

  22. #22
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Thanks, Scott! I had even asked my husband to contact you for information, so what a coincidence that you found your way here. HH indicated that my husband's horror book would be published under the Batwing imprint as well. Thank you so much for the reassuring comments. More and more we are convinced to go ahead and accept their offer. Maybe there's a possibility of the Batwing authors doing a promotional tour together.

    Anyway, six weeks and counting since the initial email offer...still waiting for the contract.

    ciao,

    cb

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW ScottAJohnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clara bow
    Thanks, Scott! I had even asked my husband to contact you for information, so what a coincidence that you found your way here. HH indicated that my husband's horror book would be published under the Batwing imprint as well. Thank you so much for the reassuring comments. More and more we are convinced to go ahead and accept their offer. Maybe there's a possibility of the Batwing authors doing a promotional tour together.

    Anyway, six weeks and counting since the initial email offer...still waiting for the contract.

    ciao,

    cb
    Six weeks, huh? If I were him, I'd either e-mail Carrie (Associate Publisher) or Randal (Head Honcho) directly. They can be slow at times. As for a BatWing Press author's tour, hell yeah! I'd talk to Carrie about it! At any rate, I'm in for that!
    Thanks

  24. #24
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    He emailed them a couple weeks ago to check the status, and was promised an email by Crystal when they put it in the mail. I had read online that it can take up to three months to receive a contract, so we really can't grouse about 6 wks. Thanks for the heads up, though. The tour thingy would be cool, huh? We have family in friends up and down the East coast, some in Michigan and Texas, and in NC, VA, & SC. So the possiblities are there as far as making it cost effective as well. Of course, fyi, we're talking a good 2yrs away, unless HH miraculously publishes his book sooner. But it's something to think about. Let's keep in touch.

  25. #25
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by clara bow
    The tour thingy would be cool, huh? We have family in friends
    lol, there was supposed to be an "and" in there.

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