Bill Carmichael, for those who don't know, is VMI's founder.By the way, I've seen VMI books in many bookstores, but of course I look for them (my father is Bill Carmichael). You should ask his authors what they think about VMI. Some have also had their books picked up for second/third runs by larger publishers as a result of the strong sales through VMI.
I'd be interested to know the names and titles for some of those books picked up by larger publishers.
This is not a "scam" section. It's Bewares and Background Check. Yes, PublishAmerica is here. So is Chronicle Books, Kensington, Penguin, HarperCollins, Ten Speed Press, and a host of other reputable commercial publishers.Anyway, I think this thread is misguided at best. Shame on you for including VMI in a 'scam' section in the same breath as Publish America.
They are most welcome to post a statement, if they wish.Has anyone actually thought to invite Bill or one of the VMI sales team (yes, they are definitely part of the team) to post a statement here?
Look what I just found: PartnerPublishers.com, a subsidiary of VMI. How it works: writers submit to major Christian publishers. Major Christian publishers refer rejected writers to PartnerPublishers. PartnerPublishers offers writers a vanity publishing package requiring the author to order 1,000 or more copies of his/her book at a discount keyed to order quantity.
Here's PartnerPublishers' pitch to publishers. Send us your poor! Your tired! Your slush pile!
That's actually a really good point -- why would VMI publicize that fact? Perhaps because whenever you do a search for VMI Publishers, your water cooler comes up right underneath it with a link to the dreaded "Bewares" section. Color me skeptical, indeed.
But you are right, posting that page smacks of overreaction of an assumed fact. I asked his web guy to take it down, after he asked if he should put it up the other day. In re-reading some of these posts, I agree with a lot of it. But VMI is not underhanded or misleading at all. And while a lot of people don't think you should pay for editing/publishing at all, they're welcome to try sneaking through the slush pile on their own.
Anyway, I don't disagree with most of the concepts posted here. I still think prospective authors should contact any of his authors (who all paid VMI) to find out firsthand what they think.
To answer your question, Victoria, Abbie Smith's book: Keeping Your Faith in College was picked up for wide release at Multnomah Books (www.keepingyourfaith.com). I know there are others and I'm looking for them.
Anyway, he must be doing something right: his own book, The Missionary, (www.missionarynovel.com) is selling very well (yes, also in stores), and is being shopped right now for movie rights.
As for Partner Publishers, 100% of the proceeds from that go to Professional Editor SANFORD COMMUNICATIONS (www.sanfordci.com). That deal was struck so Bill could send authors who wanted to find a professional editing team without the appearance of 'double dipping' or the reprehensible act of requiring use of (*cough cough*) an editing team before publication.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a financial kickback involved in there somewhere"
That kind of comment is blatantly unfair. Please be fair, Ms. WoW. And if you wanted to get contacts at a real publishing house, we can help with that. No charges for the tip.
Thanks for listening, and I do respect the overall mission of the site. Bottom line? Authors who are skeptical should talk to people who have paid VMI.
It isn't unfair in the least. Why would a publisher recommend rejectees to a vanity house unless there was some kind of financial reward? Misinformation I suppose, but from all angles that I can see it doesn't reflect very well on them.
Point is, all those published authors out there, both by large and small houses? They didn't pay anything to get published except perhaps postage and printing. It's not a way of thinking, it's how the business works. Writers write a good story, and publishers pay those writers to publish that story. If there's an agent, he/she doesn't get paid until the author gets paid. I don't get why you think requiring an editing team before publication is reprehensible, because it isn't. Every house has an editing team of some size - it's a mark of a good publisher. It's editing before you get picked up by a publisher that would fall more under the reprehensible category, though that's too strong a word. Not really necessary, at least. Sneaking through the slushpile, as you put it, doesn't mean you're a better writer. It means you took a shortcut. A line comes to mind from J.R.R. Tolkien's books (paraphrasing because I don't want to go searching through my books): "shortcuts lead to longer delays". Taking a shortcut through the slushpile delays the honing of your craft. You bypass opportunities to improve because you couldn't be patient, and you really don't learn how to be a better writer and how to be objective of your own work. No, it's not easy to hear someone tell you something bad about your story or reject your story but because there are so many reasons why you get rejected it's worth listening to what agents and publishers are saying as to why they're rejecting it.
If someone wants to pay to publish fine, ultimately that's someone's choice. But if your story is good enough to get picked up by a commercial house who will pay you, isn't that the preferrable option? Of course it is! But you're never going to know unless you try. If they're happy fine, but with no disrespect meant to those authors how many of them thought this was how publishing works, as opposed to 'I've done my research on the industry, and I want to go this route anyway'? I'd wager very few.
I ran across this forum tonight and I need to respond to some of the blatant slams against VMI. Most of the criticism I've read in previous posts came from people who had probably not read (or understood) VMI's website, and definitely had not had personal contact with their people.
VMI is unique among publishers. It is a royalty publisher. But, it has one main difference--it caters to getting first-time authors ready for the big time. I read several posts that said if an author were really good enough to get published by a royalty publisher, then he or she would be able to find a publisher who would love their work and send them a contract. This view is very idealistic--especially in today's market. There are many unpublished authors out there who are better than some of the published ones, but whose work may be a little edgy, a little different, and no publisher right now is willing to take risks. Or, the new author's book has great potential market value, but needs more polishing than most publishers are willing to invest. This is where VMI shines. Yes, the new author must come up with part of the expense on the initial run, but that still costs much less than they would have had to pay on their own. And they end up with a high-quality product that has a chance of selling, not some schlocky self-published book from a "vanity publisher" who will publish almost anything as long as they get paid.
How do I know this? I've followed VMI for years. I was a beginning writer and VMI's approach was intriguing. When new authors want to get a book published, one of the best things they can do is meet publishers in person. A year ago, I was traveling through the Carmichaels' area and asked Bill if I could meet him. We both knew that my teacher resource book for helping teachers respond to struggling readers didn't fit in VMI's market niche, but Bill agreed to meet with me anyway. He was generous with his time and advice, and encouraged me to subcontract the publishing of my own book. I had never considered the possibility. Since then, I've met the Carmichaels two more times at conferences. They have been so supportive of my efforts--and they haven't received one dime from the time they spent with me. My book is now on the market and I credit Bill for giving me the push I needed. I wish my book had qualified for VMI because I've spent much more than VMI would have charged me.
So, all you people who are accusing VMI and the Carmichaels of preying on young authors for personal gain, get your facts straight. Just because VMI has a different approach, it doesn't mean they are a scam. They aren't for everyone, but they have given many people the break they needed.
Last edited by carolsfitz; 09-29-2009 at 01:09 PM. Reason: two errors
If you're paying to be published (and I mean you in the general sense, not you in particular) you're vanity published. Plain and simple. Paint the horse any colour you'd like, it's still a horse. Maybe VMI didn't intend this, but that's what they are. Commercial publishers pay authors. Period. They don't ask their authors to pay anything. Why? Because they don't have to. Because they're making their money the way they're supposed to - by selling books to the public.
When new authors want to get a book published, the best thing they can do is write a really good book. Publishers WILL pick up a story if they believe it'll sell. That's not idealistic, that's reality.
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I submitted my ms to this contest and received this letter today. What do you all think???
I wanted to be the first to Congratulate you! Your manuscript received “Honorable Mention” in the 2011-12 Deep River Books Writer’s Contest. And while you did not win first place, “Honorable Mention” is a significant achievement when you consider there were over 400 contest entries. You are to be applauded for what you have accomplished.
As you know, Deep River Books is a full-service partner publisher. Our goal is to publish the best manuscripts from new authors, and we certainly feel yours could fit into that category. Due to the high score your manuscript achieved by our judges, I would like to send your manuscript through our regular editorial review process for possible publishing by Deep River Books.
If your book were to be selected by our editorial review board, we would make it a “Feature Title” which includes media coverage and an invitation to be a featured author signing books at our booth during next year's International Christian Retail Show where over 10,000 people, including many bookstore owners/buyers attend. It would also be a featured title at the Deep River Books website.
And because of the “Honorable Mention” status in the contest, we plan to offer you a $500 discount off our standard partnership program as an added incentive, if your book is selected by our in-house editorial team for publication.
But first, if you have not done so already, there is a detailed explanation about how the partnership works at our website, www.deepriverbooks.com, that I would invite you to review, which answers most questions about how our publishing partnership program works. If you click the box “Getting Published” it will guide you through a few pages with the details. I would also be happy to set up a time to speak by phone if you have more questions.
After you read the “Getting Published” material at our website, please send me an email reply indicating whether or not you feel a Deep River Books partnership could work for you, if selected for publication by our editorial review team. Once I hear back in the affirmative, I will forward your manuscript to the editorial team for their final review and approval.
I do hope we can form a partnership that will allow your book to be one of Deep River Books’ featured titles in the coming year. Of course, you are under no obligation to publish your book with us and, either way, it was a joy to read your manuscript and I thank you for entering it in our writer’s contest. The contest results and announcement of the winners is posted at our website www.deepriverbooks.com/contest.html.
William Carmichael, Publisher
Deep River Books
If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison
Noting that VMI Publishers has changed its name to Deep River Books (and is still a vanity press, despite claiming otherwise, as they require their authors to purchase a minimum of 1000 copies of their own book).
A $500 discount isn't a lot considering that you'll have to spend a minimum of $9000 buying copies of your book. If a book is good enough to be published and sell thousands of copies, it's good enough to be published with a commercial rather than a vanity press. I think you should shop around for a better publisher.
I notice that the "Honorable Mentions" are not listed on their website, which means every single non-winning entry could have gotten that same email. (I'm not saying they did, just that it's certainly a possibility.) There's no way of checking that.
I was actually thinking the same thing. I'll let this one go. Thanks to all of you!I notice that the "Honorable Mentions" are not listed on their website, which means every single non-winning entry could have gotten that same email. (I'm not saying they did, just that it's certainly a possibility.) There's no way of checking that.
If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison
Read as: pay to playDeep River Books is a full-service partner publisher
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