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Thread: [Display site] Novelmaker.com

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    [Display site] Novelmaker.com

    Anyone have anything to say about this site? Is it legit or a sham? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I just got a question about this website. Here's what I replied.

    Novelmaker is a manuscript display site, where writers can upload their work for comment, review, ratings, etc. The public feedback and community networking part of this is fine, but the implication that reputable agents and editors will use Novelmaker to find or assess new talent is misleading. As was proven in the late 1990's, when the display site concept first appeared, agents and editors aren't all that interested in electronic slush piles. There's an article on display sites at Writer Beware that discusses this in more detail.

    Novelmaker is also a vanity press. It's actually a vanity press in the classic sense, because you have to order and pay for physical books that are delivered to you, rather than, as with other POD services, simply paying for setup and having the book made available for special order or sale online. The prices seem quite steep, especially since Novelmaker claims to switch to offset for longer book runs. If that's the case, orders of 1,000 books ought to be significantly cheaper than they are.

    There's a list of agents on the site. It contains some disreputable and marginal agents, and also some outdated information. (The list was publicly available this morning when I checked the site, but as of right now it's only available to members.)

    - Victoria

  3. #3
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Must have something to do with the water in Maryland.
    When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.

    Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.

    The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.


  4. #4
    A work in progress Saundra Julian's Avatar
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    Makes one wonder...

  5. #5
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
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    As Uncle Jim likes to say, YADS = Yet Another Display Site.

    And...bah!!...an expensive vanity press as well.

    ~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

  6. #6
    A work in progress Saundra Julian's Avatar
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    No too bad if you don't mind paying 100.00 for basic cover art and 500.00 for custom!!

  7. #7
    chrisolander
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    Please folks...check it out.

    It is not a vanity press. It simply prints books...at 20% below the rip-offs elsewhere. It lets you post your work and get feedback. It showcases "best in class" each month. It provides a FORUM, that is FREE, for writers and readers. Agents? Yes, they're coming, slowly but surely, but many have contacted us. A "display" site. What is that? Okay... go to writing.com, poetry.com, and all those others. Enter a "contest." Pay for comments and feedback. You want that? Go for it. If you want a serious alternative, try novelmaker.com. It costs you absolutely nothing. And the suggestion that POD is pricey is absurd. NO ONE sells books of this quality for less money.

  8. #8
    chrisolander
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    Saundra

    Uh huh. The axe-grinder.

    Beware!

  9. #9
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    There are, astoundingly, options other than scams, display sites and pay-to-play publishing.
    Last edited by veinglory; 02-19-2009 at 10:10 PM.
    Emily Veinglory

  10. #10
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisolander View Post
    Uh huh. The axe-grinder.

    Beware!
    Actually, I'm the evil one with teeth.

  11. #11
    Is me. Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisolander View Post

    It is not a vanity press.
    If you pay for your book to be printed, it is a vanity press.

    It simply prints books...at 20% below the rip-offs elsewhere.<snip> NO ONE sells books of this quality for less money.
    So you have to pay to have your books printed?

    Then it's a vanity press. End of story.

  12. #12
    Sockpuppet
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    I don't care if they make their books by hand, I want to be paid for my work. Money flows toward the writer, always.

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    I have a question & hopefully someone can answer it.

    Over at PM there's a section called Proposals & Offerings. They give a title, a blurb, the author & the agent, plus the available rights.

    How is this different from YADS? I'm seriously confused.

  14. #14
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    It's different from YADS in that real agents and editors do actually frequent PM. Although I've always wondered if the PM listings work any better for unsold manuscripts (as opposed to subrights offerings) than YADS does.

    - Victoria

  15. #15
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Hi, chrisolander and welcome to AW.

    chrisolander:
    It is not a vanity press. It simply prints books...at 20% below the rip-offs elsewhere.
    I think the point that people are getting at is that Novelmaker still require people to pay for books to be put into print and they're doing so when Novelmaker clearly has no intention and no way of distributing books for commercial sale. The reason why this tends to make people suspicious as to motives is because at the same time, Novelmaker are trying to trade on people who are looking for an agent or thinking about commercial publication, for example:

    Taken From Novelmake's FAQ:
    We believe publishers will continue to rely mostly on literary agents to screen and recommend works for their consideration. But literary agents and publishers scout for new talent on NovelMaker.com, and that is one of the many compelling reasons to upload your works to our site.
    chrisolander:
    It lets you post your work and get feedback.
    Well so do a lot of other sites - the SYW community here in AW is a place to post work and get feedback. However, not many of those sites are also pushing a POD facility and many aren't interested in also selling software to users.

    chrisolander:
    It showcases "best in class" each month.
    YouWriteOn in the UK has a similar concept and even though that does genuinely have ties to some respected agencies, it hasn't led to a huge number of authors getting agents. Yes, some people have done so but that was a site that was supported by the British Arts Council and has some industry backing. Novelmaker doesn't seem to have that (unless you have evidence otherwise). In addition, the agents associated with YouWriteOn are named and transparent. I don't see that information on Novelmaker.

    chrisolander:
    It provides a FORUM, that is FREE, for writers and readers.
    Again, so do plenty of other sites including the SYW Forums here on AW.

    chrisolander:
    Agents? Yes, they're coming, slowly but surely, but many have contacted us.
    Agents have contacted Novelmaker? Can you share which agencies have been in contact with Novelmaker?

    As you must be aware, there are unfortunately a large number of scam or downright incompetent agents out there (none of whom have made a sale) and there is always a danger that a display site such as Novelmaker (in the sense that it's a site where people display their manuscripts) can bring them out of the woodwork to try and fleece the people using your services. Can you tell us what measures Novelmaker have in place to ensure that its users do not fall victim to such predators?

    chrisolander:
    Okay... go to writing.com, poetry.com, and all those others. Enter a "contest." Pay for comments and feedback. You want that? Go for it
    You're right - those sites are complete rip offs.

    I think it would put many peoples' minds at ease if you could give an assurance that people using Novelmaker won't be subjected to pressure to use the POD service that you offer. In addition, I took a look at the pricing page here and was a little confused. Do you require people using the service to make a minimum purchase of 10 books or can they only purchase one copy? In addition, is the charge for say, 10 copies of a 40 page 8.5" by 11" book 6.60 or 66 dollars? There also appear to be a lot of additional charges which you identify as extra services, e.g. cover design from $100, which seems to be quite steep if you're only using clip art.

    Does anyone else know how those prices compare to a POD site like Lulu?

    chrisolander:
    And the suggestion that POD is pricey is absurd. NO ONE sells books of this quality for less money.
    Yes, but who are you selling them to? Your own formatting page suggests that you're not geared up to get books into shops, given that you have to go back to the author to get instructions if a bookstore asks for a copy.

    Saundra

    Uh huh. The axe-grinder.

    Beware!
    Chris - what exactly do you think that comment accomplished? If you're the same Chris Olander identified as President and CEO of Novelmaker then making such a cheap and, frankly, childish remark doesn't do a huge amount for your business credibility. In fact, it makes you look like a wanker.

    MM

  16. #16
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Agents have contacted Novelmaker? Can you share which agencies have been in contact with Novelmaker?

    As you must be aware, there are unfortunately a large number of scam or downright incompetent agents out there (none of whom have made a sale) and there is always a danger that a display site such as Novelmaker (in the sense that it's a site where people display their manuscripts) can bring them out of the woodwork to try and fleece the people using your services. Can you tell us what measures Novelmaker have in place to ensure that its users do not fall victim to such predators?
    So, Chris, can you divulge the names of those agents or have they demanded not to be publicly mentioned? If they don't want to be publicly acknowledged, isn't that suspicious at all to you? After all, divulging prestigious agent names is to your advantage since it would increase the flow of traffic to your site. It certainly won't hurt those agents since your site will then be diverting much of their slush pile away from them. Consequently, only scam agents would want to be anonymous because they wouldn't want to be recognized by anyone aware of their activities. Your site wouldn't benefit either because then they'd be involving you with their scam.

    Which brings me to this question. Have you vetted any of the names of the agents who've contacted you? There are several sites available with information about who's trustworthy in agenting. This is one such site. So is Writer Beware and my own site, Preditors & Editors. There are others as well. Do you use any of them to vet the agent contacts you've received?

  17. #17
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    It's different from YADS in that real agents and editors do actually frequent PM.
    I believe also that the sales from PM all are two-out-of-three from this list:

    1. A previously published author,
    2. An agent who is or could be a member of AAR,
    3. Rights other than first publication.

  18. #18
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Today I spoke with Mr. Olander on the phone as well as another individual with NovelMaker earlier whose name I didn't write down at the time. They are addressing the concerns P&E has about their terms for use. I was promised there would be changes by tomorrow.

    At the time, I mistakenly thought I'd encountered their site because of an email rather than here and in the Author Message Board. Otherwise, I would have asked again about the agents they claim have been in contact with them.

    By the way, they are taking out an ad in the NYT in tomorrow's edition. I don't think I'm divulging anything since that's only hours away. Still, writers and readers might want to look for that ad.

  19. #19
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisolander View Post
    Agents? Yes, they're coming, slowly but surely, but many have contacted us.
    As of right this minute, Novelmaker's Agents page includes the names of 12 agents about whom Writer Beware has gotten complaints or that we know not to have a professional track record.

    - Victoria

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    I believe also that the sales from PM all are two-out-of-three from this list:

    1. A previously published author,
    2. An agent who is or could be a member of AAR,
    3. Rights other than first publication.
    It seems to me that I've seen some people listed who also have threads here, like Bob D4EO. And some seem to be by first-time writers, with all rights available. Maybe I've just misread them?

  21. #21
    Everything is what it seems. Will Lavender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveKuzminski View Post
    By the way, they are taking out an ad in the NYT in tomorrow's edition. I don't think I'm divulging anything since that's only hours away. Still, writers and readers might want to look for that ad.
    Wow. Wonder what the ad looks like?

    The whole thing just seems like a colossal waste of time and money to me. This entire enterprise, from the writers who submit work to the owners who are surely paying a decent amount of cash to take out an ad in the NYT. I just don't know what need it fulfills in the publishing world. More slush? More frustrated writers? More vacuous promises?

    On the surface, that place looks like a scammer's dream.

  22. #22
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khazarkhum View Post
    It seems to me that I've seen some people listed who also have threads here, like Bob D4EO. And some seem to be by first-time writers, with all rights available. Maybe I've just misread them?
    What do you mean by "who also have threads here"?

    And could you post the specifics of some of the deals where where first-time writers sold first publication rights?

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    Hi Jim.

    By "threads here" I should have made it clear I meant threads discussing them.

    I'll go look -- I don't have a sub, and, as I said earlier, it's entirely possible that I misread entries.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    Hi Jim

    Debut authors on the PM Marketplace. This one seems to be a non-agented first-time writer selling all rights:

    http://www.publishersmarketplace.com...ay.cgi?no=5158

    Am I missing something?

  25. #25
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khazarkhum View Post
    Hi Jim

    Debut authors on the PM Marketplace. This one seems to be a non-agented first-time writer selling all rights:

    http://www.publishersmarketplace.com...ay.cgi?no=5158
    Many writers do this. The question is, is it effective? Frankly, I doubt it. I don't think that established agents and editors are very likely to search for debut authors on PM--any more than they are likely to do so at Authorlink or another manuscript display site.

    - Victoria

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