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Thread: Tate Publishing

  1. #26
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    The reason writers talk about money is this:

    We aren't really interested in money, we're interested in readers. We know that there's a positive correlation between money and readers. There's no easy way to count readers. There is an easy way to count money. Therefore to know how well we're being read, we count the money.

    When we talk about advances, we know that they're "advances against royalties." Those advances are themselves royalty checks -- so when folks who got an advance say that they didn't earn any royalties they mean they didn't earn any royalties beyond the advance. They've already earned royalties.

    Excellent writing will only take you so far. Beyond that, to reach readers, you need excellent distribution.

    Ah, well, I suppose you know your own situation best. Please keep us posted on how things work out for you.

    (Just as an aside, Robert Fletcher put his picture on the old ST Literary Agency site.)

  2. #27
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Well said

    Cathy;

    Your credentials speak for themselves. I have no doubt you know what you're talking about. I'll stop defending now..thanks for the input!

  3. #28
    practical experience, FTW LloydBrown's Avatar
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    ::raising hand::

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    The reason writers talk about money is this:

    We aren't really interested in money,
    I'm interested in money. Every time I ask my mortage company if they'll take fan loyalty, interest in a new book, or customer goodwill, they just stare at me like I'm some kind of freak.

    If I could sell one copy of each title for $20,000, I probably would.
    Lloyd Brown
    www.lloydwrites.com


  4. #29
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LloydBrown
    I'm interested in money. Every time I ask my mortage company if they'll take fan loyalty, interest in a new book, or customer goodwill, they just stare at me like I'm some kind of freak.

    If I could sell one copy of each title for $20,000, I probably would.

    Sure, Lloyd, I'm interested in money too. I do this "writing" thing for a living. I have to be interested in money.

    If I don't have readers, I don't have any money.

    Most of your writers out there don't make enough money to live on. Many authors aren't interested in making a career of writing. For them, it's readers. For me, too, it's readers. That there are enough of them to pay my bills is a happy circumstance that allows me to play around rather than go get a job.

  5. #30
    Naked Futon Guy allenparker's Avatar
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    Jim, I think you have the right attitude towards writing

    For racing fans, there is a lot of hard working drivers that battle each Friday night at a local track. I did it for years. Most of them will never see the inside of a Winston Cup car, or sit in the back row of the Indy 500, but drivers drive because that is what racing people do.

    Writers also write because that is what we do. If we never get rich or make a living at it, we will continue in our quest because that is what makes life enjoyable. We feel best when we see someone reading our material.

    In my present position, I will not be able to live well from the royalties of my books. I may be able to support my pet hampster, so long as she doesn't want dessert often. I do have the ability to enjoy some of the other treats that come from being an author.

    Money isn't everything.

    Allen

  6. #31
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Money and Readers

    I guess for me the idea of selling more than 10,000 or so books is completely "pie in the sky." Most published books (I talking the VAST majority) fail to sell even half that much. So to be considered "midlist at best" is not too shabby.

    I think it all comes down to distribution/marketing. My publisher claims to use Baker&Taylor /Spring Arbor and Barnes and Noble/Amazon. This is true as I have checked. My question is this:

    If both a small press and a large press use the same distribution channels, would that not level the playing field a bit? I suggest this because I feel that most readers couldn't give a wooden nickel about who published the book, that is a battle that authors and publishers wage with each other for vanity's sake. As long as the book has a nice look, feel and quality--and is priced right and returnable--what's the big difference?

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haray72
    I guess for me the idea of selling more than 10,000 or so books is completely "pie in the sky." Most published books (I talking the VAST majority) fail to sell even half that much. So to be considered "midlist at best" is not too shabby.
    But 10,000 is "midlist" (the way you're using the word, anyway). "Bestseller" is way, way above 10,000. Where did you get your statistics that most published books fail to sell 5,000 copies? I'd be interested in the source.

  8. #33
    Ooo! Shiny new cover! Absolute Sage Cathy C's Avatar
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    Pfft! Midlist goes all the way up to about 200K SALES before you're a front list name --- and that doesn't count returns from the stores. Most full-time authors worry about less than a 30K printing for mass paperback. It's sort of a death knell number.

    My fervent hope is one day to have the fan base of our genial uncle!
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    "A struggling community under attack, compelling action, characters struggling with dark secrets ... FORBIDDEN hit all my favorite notes, and I love the rich world of the Sazi!" - Rachel Caine, New York Times Bestselling Author

  9. #34
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    ???

    You're kidding aren't you? 10,000 copies is a GOOD number for a new author. The statistics are everywhere! But I think at this point it's important to break them down a bit.

    For nearly all published authors, the average advance is between $1,000 and $5,000 dollars. There are so many publishers out there spewing out so many books that this number will continue to go down and publishers see less and less need to ante up. After all, the new talent is walking up to them everyday.

    *Most new authors will never earn out their advance
    *Most will never sell more than 2,500 to 5,000 copies
    ***If they manage to secure a large press, they may in fact do better on average, but I do not know the statistics for large press new authors only.
    *The real money is made on the second or third book, not the first. That is when reputation and sales records can turn a $2,500 advance into a $250,000 one pretty quickly.

  10. #35
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    Can you cite sources for this information?

  11. #36
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haray72
    You're kidding aren't you? 10,000 copies is a GOOD number for a new author. The statistics are everywhere! But I think at this point it's important to break them down a bit.
    Haray, please define "everywhere".

  12. #37
    Empirical Storm Trooper MadScientistMatt's Avatar
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    I tried to search Google and Ask Jeeves for that number. Didn't find it readily, but I did find this:

    http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/oreilly...pect_0603.html

    This is a summary of sales records for O'Reilly. They're not a small publisher, but they are something of a niche group that specializes in computer books. Not one of the Big Five or anything like that. They are well known to computer people, but they're not like St. Martin's or Random House. And you can see that their average book sells way more copies than 5,000.

    Statistics can be misleading. They say data will confess to anything if you torture them long enough. The stats you have may be lumping everything in together, from novels that you find in bookstores to textbooks to the books put out from vanity publishers. How much you sell depends on which one of these categories your book falls into. Sell your manuscript to a major publisher, they put it in bookstores and sell thousands of them. Pay a vanity publisher to print it, most bookstores won't stock it, and few books from these places sell more than a couple hundred.

    It's just like the claims about how low the odds are about making it out of a slush pile. The overall odds may be that only 1% of the books make it, but in reality, it's more like an on/off setting. Most of the books have a zero chance and the rest have a chance close to one.

  13. #38
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Here's a start

    http://www.fonerbooks.com/paper.htm

    I'll try to get some more to you very soon. Just to clarify, I never meant to suggest that 10,000 books meant success as an author. We all know that such a low number means we cannot quit our day jobs.

    I simply meant that for the average new author, 10,000 copies sold is a great start, and a success in it's own right.

    As I've researched the dream of selling millions of copies, I kept finding the same sobering statistics. Take them for what you will.

  14. #39
    Empirical Storm Trooper MadScientistMatt's Avatar
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    Trouble is, that's almost certainly taking into account all books. Vanity published books which authors try to sell out of thier own garages, small regional guides to local fossil deposits, technical guides that only researchers in narrow fields would be interested in, etc. And that's even if Foner is using accurate data. They don't say where they got that number at all.

  15. #40
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Here's the mother load!

    Enjoy! This is a great source of information!

    http://www.parapublishing.com/getpag...ics/index.html

  16. #41
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Let's not get too far into the "cite your sources" wars.

    One thing I notice going on here is a bit of confusion between "all" writers and "all" books, and "new" writers with "first" books. Keeping the terms equivalent is the first step to making meaningful comparisons and (it is fervently to be hoped!) reasonable decisions.

    I'd be happy to agree that $1-5K is a perfectly reasonable advance for a first novel, and that 5K sales is a reasonable expectation for a first novel.

    Remember that when a book doesn't earn out, that that's the expected result. It doesn't make the book a failure. It doesn't mean that the publisher didn't make a profit on the book. It only means that the publisher was right about how well the book would sell. Publishers try to set advances to what they estimate a book will earn over its life.

    (If a book looks to be selling well, publishers are perfectly happy to go back to press, swing more promotional and marketing muscle behind it, and generally help it along.)

    Books listed with Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and on Amazon, BN.com, and the publisher's own web site -- well, that doesn't mean much beyond that the book is in print and has an ISBN.

    Ingram and B&T are wholesalers, even though they're called "distributors." They lack a marketing arm.

    The hopeful thing here is the listing with Spring Arbor. They are distributors. It would be interesting to know what level of service Tate has signed up for. Will they be using Spring Arbor's salesforce? Again, there's a difference between being a number in a database somewhere and being actively promoted to retailers.

    I ask because I don't know: Are Tate books physically on bookstore shelves? If they aren't, no amount of author push will help. The author will almost certainly be able to get his or her book on the shelves at local bookstores. The question is whether they'll be on the shelves in bookstores that the author has never visited.

    Generally speaking, publishers have two places they can get their money. They can get it from readers, or they can get it from authors. The presumption is that publishers who are getting their money from authors aren't able to/don't need to get it from readers.

  17. #42
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    http://www.tatepublishing.com/home.php

    Rife with weasel wording such as "make available".

    And I love this bit:

    You probably know by now that publishing companies are a dime a dozen. There are many vanity presses that will offer you a one time edit and layout on your work with a template book cover. They'll slap it together, print out a couple of hundred copies and send you on your way. On the other hand, there are the traditional publishing houses that only sign one, maybe two new authors a year. Most of the time, they won't give you the time of day. You are our passion at Tate Publishing. We look for unknown, undiscovered, diamond-in-the-rough, waiting to be found authors. We'll provide you with outstanding customer support and give your work the attention it deserves.
    Can you say "misdirection"?
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    II 2016: 2017:

  18. #43
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haray72
    You're kidding aren't you? 10,000 copies is a GOOD number for a new author.
    You really can't make a blanket statement like this. It depends on a lot of things, including the genre and the publisher's expectations. For debut literary novel in hardcover, 10,000 is fabulous. But a first romance novel from one of the larger publishers that sold just 10,000 copies would be considered a dismal failure. For a new fantasy author issued in mass market paperback, 10,000 would probably be disappointing. And in any genre, if the new author had been picked up for a sizeable advance in the expectation of a popular book, 10,000 would probably not make the publisher happy.

    As you can see, it really depends.
    For nearly all published authors, the average advance is between $1,000 and $5,000 dollars.
    I'd agree that this is true for first-time authors. Not for established authors, though.
    There are so many publishers out there spewing out so many books that this number will continue to go down and publishers see less and less need to ante up.
    The average advance for a new author is more or less the same as it was 20 years ago (this is a horrible statistic--how many industries are there where the starting salary hasn't changed in 20 years?--but at least they aren't lower). For successful established authors or a new author that the publisher thinks is going to be hot, the advance amounts paid now are inconceivably high, compared to a couple of decades ago. For instance, with the sudden popularity of YA fantasy, many YA fantasy authors are getting mid-five-figure and even six-figure advances--something barely imaginable when I was writing YA fantasy back in the 1980's.

    Granted, most authors don't make much money. And I emphatically agree with people who say that bloated advance amounts are harmful to publishers' bottom lines, and should be reined in. But as a general trend, advances are not decreasing--and if they did decrease, it wouldn't have anything to do with the number of books being published. The number of books being published now is at least double the number being published a couple of decades ago--but the upper limit for advances has increased way more than that.
    Most will never sell more than 2,500 to 5,000 copies
    Again, I question the use of "most". I just don't think this is accurate, especially in more popular genres.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 06-24-2005 at 12:40 AM.

  19. #44
    5 W's & an H Sassenach's Avatar
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    Speaking of 'weasel words', how about this:

    Author Leon Mentzer's Latest Release In Barnes & Noble


    February 22, 2005 marks the offical release of Leon Mentzer's "Just When You Think You're Alone," and Mentzer's local Barnes & Noble is already carrying this collection of short stories.


    They also refer to their business as 'publishing services.' They're not a publisher.
    Last edited by Sassenach; 06-24-2005 at 12:04 AM.
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  20. #45
    13th Triskaidekaphobe Richard's Avatar
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    Yes, I'm operating from $4,000 in the red instead of even or up $1,500 with an advance. Advantage Tate? Without question, but they never forced me to pony up $4,000, and you get what you pay for, ladies and gentlemen.
    Wait...sorry. I'm having trouble parsing this. You say this, and you work in marketing?

  21. #46
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    Haray72, have you worked out how many copies of your book you'll have to sell for your royalties to equal the $4000 initial payout? The reason I'm asking is this: When POD-DY MOUTH http://girlondemand.blogspot.com interviewed agents and editors about the kinds of sales they'd want to see from a self-published book in order to consider picking it up, the number ranged from about 3000 to 5000 units per year. Agent One commented that selling 3000 units of a self-published book was like 10,000 sales of a commercially published book (that is, if you manage to sell 3K copies self-published, you'd probably have sold about 10k copies commercially). So, if you're saying that 10,000 units of a commercially published book is really good, and 5000 is pie-in-the-sky, how likely is it that you'll earn out your own "advance" of $4k?
    Last edited by Aconite; 06-24-2005 at 01:45 AM.

  22. #47
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haray72
    Remember, any advance you are to gain from a traditional publisher is just that--an advance on sales, or potential sales. Until you earn out that advance, you will not see royalties. Also, production costs may be deducted from that initial advance as well.
    No. An advance is an advance. Nothing is deducted from it--except, if you have an agent, the agent's commission. Commercial publishers--large and small--do not expect their authors to bear production costs--or editing costs, or marketing costs, or any costs at all. They are compensating you for the right to make a profit from your intellectual property. They cover all costs, but they also keep the lion's share of income. It's a good deal for them, believe me.
    With Tate I have "paid up" all at once, and now will concentrate on working with their marketing representative to try to make a profit.
    To make back your $4,000, you'll have to sell a minimum of 1,700 copies (that's assuming 15% royalties on a cover price of $15.95--your book may be priced higher, of course, but that 15% may also work out lower if the royalty is paid on the publisher's net receipts). This is going to be very, very difficult, given that your book will not be stocked in bookstores unless you yourself make sure the bookstore manager puts it there (which you will have trouble doing if, as I suspect, Tate's books are not returnable). Most people buy books in bookstores, so bookstore presence is essential if you want volume sales.

    If your book is nonfiction with a niche audience you know how to reach directly, you may do better. But if so, you could have gotten a very similar service from a POD self-publishing service such as iUniverse for just a few hundred dollars.
    "Bethany House signed me for $1,500 bucks and they were kind enough to take the burden of ownership off my hands too! Plus the book will be available sometime in the next half-century, and if it doesn't sell REALLY well in 6 months (I'm such a big shot author now that I'm sure they will just POUR marketing resources into it) it will get the honor of being BACKLISTED or OUT OF STOCK."
    This idea that books go out of print in 6 months if they aren't a big success is just a myth.
    It's easy to be suspicious of their fees, but let me ask you this: How many "disreputable" presses out their paste their faces on their website under "meet the staff?"
    Many scammers make a major point of presenting themselves personally (if misleadingly) to their victims. Scams work best when conducted face to face. Of course, once things start to go bad, they duck out of sight. Initially, though, the "personal touch" is a powerful way of selling the scam.

    I'm not saying that Tate is a scam, by the way. I have no evidence of this. Here, however, is what I know about so-called subsidy presses:

    - Most are not subsidy presses at all. The fee you're charged typically covers everything plus profit. In other words, the publisher's claim to contribute large amounts of its own cash is, if not outright false, seriously exaggerated.
    - Most will tell you almost anything to get you to sign on. Often they'll make verbal promises that aren't reflected in the language of the contract. Verbal promises are not to be relied on.
    - Most will use misleading language to convince you that you'll get more service than they actually intend to provide--for instance, telling you that your books will be "available" in bookstores. This is literally true, since people will be able to order them in bookstores, but it doesn't mean the books will be stocked on bookstore shelves (which may well be what you assumed "available" meant).
    - Many will promise you a sizeable print run. In fact, they probably rely on POD technology, so only the 50 or so books that are initially sent to you, plus any you order for yourself, will be printed.

    - Victoria

  23. #48
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Uh Oh

    Yep, I'm a lurker, de-lurking to add a comment or two.

    According to Tate: "On the other hand, there are the traditional publishing houses that only sign one, maybe two new authors a year."

    Nice way to make folks feel desperate. And HIGHLY inaccurate.

    Ahem! Even the very traditional academic publishing houses that basically operate at a loss and have itty bitty lists sign more than two new authors a year. The big guns? LOTS more than two new authors a year.

    NO NO NO! No giving in to places that play (falsely!) on authors' fears of the marketplace. Grrrrrr.

  24. #49
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Welcome out into the open, Jnaxyc.

  25. #50
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Alright now...

    Since you fired the first shot, let me respond politely by asking if you believe in the concept that you have to spend money to make money?

    In marketing, you have to know who your customer is, and what they are interested in buying. I've made the investment in a niche genre that will best enable me to reach my customers. Again, this a basic marketing concept.

    I can send press releases all over the world, make a million phone calls to "potential" customers and it will not make a significant difference if I am not talking to someone that likes Christian fiction. Small christian bookstores have been handed their hats thanks to Walmart, and the Christian writers of the world have been the first to see the benefits. But although the superstores stock everything and anything, you still have to target a very specific audience, and means finding a small press publisher that specializes in that field. If you don't follow this thinking, that's fine with me.

    Further, you also have to know what your readers could care less about, such as who is the publisher of the attractive book they hold in their hands as they stand in the bookstore. Let's draw a simple comparison--as a rapid baseball fan, I love to watch homeruns. Do I care if my favorite team hits them out with Louisville sluggers or do I insist they use Phoenix bats or Old Hickory? Naw, I just want to see the long ball. My point is as long as the product gets to right customer, there is a chance for a sale.

    Just one final remark about why I went with Tate. I will retain ownership of my property--5 years worth of work is worth $4,000 to me. With a traditional you've just coughed up your seed corn. George Lucas can tell you a thing or two about the importance of retaining rights!

    My book also has potential to be made into a movie (again, pie in the sky but I hold all the rights, baby.) Maybe this should have been a discussion about the pros and cons of retaining rights to one's work rather than potential sales. Thanks for your insight.

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