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Thread: [Publisher] Write Words, Inc. / ebooksonthe.net / Cambridge Books

  1. #1
    roamp
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    Offer from an Ebook Publisher

    I just started to market my fantasy novel, The Bouncer of Blueball, to ebook publishers last week. It took two days to get an offer from ebooksonthe.net. Their "committee" decided to publish me even after seeing only the first three chapters.

    Piers Anthony had some good things to say about the company, and they have a reasonable contract.

    Isn't it odd to offer after reading only three chapters and a synopsis? I mean, it's a good book, but it's not The Lord of the Rings.

  2. #2
    Resident Magician kybudman's Avatar
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    Maybe they aren't looking for LoTR. Maybe they're just looking for good, tightly written work. That would be one reason to speak highly of them, I would think.
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  3. #3
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    I would be wary of a publisher who wanted to publish but hadn't read the complete manuscript.

    Just my two cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roamp
    I just started to market my fantasy novel, The Bouncer of Blueball, to ebook publishers last week. It took two days to get an offer from ebooksonthe.net. Their "committee" decided to publish me even after seeing only the first three chapters.

    Piers Anthony had some good things to say about the company, and they have a reasonable contract.

    Isn't it odd to offer after reading only three chapters and a synopsis? I mean, it's a good book, but it's not The Lord of the Rings.
    I would check any ebook publisher out in the following areas:

    - availability of books: are they available on all the major retail sites and in a good selection of formats? Simply googling for a selection of their titles will give you an idea of how much exposure there is.

    - quality of books: are they edited? I suspect not in this case. Maybe this isn't important to you, and to be honest I can't see how the typical ebook publisher could afford to pay for substantive editing.

    - quality of covers: chances are, you're not going to get a great cover on an ebook unless you provide it yourself, but it's still worth checking out some of their current offerings.

    - contract and reputation: research and judge for yourself.

    - sales performance: not that useful but you might be able to get an idea of whether their other titles sell by looking at Fictionwise ratings or Amazon sales ranks/reviews (though fewer epublishers are on Amazon since they went exclusively with the mobipocket format).

    - what their business model looks like: acquire thousands of titles and sell one of each per month, or select for quality (a 2-day acceptance without sight of the ms might give you a hint here). To be fair, the pile-it-high approach tends to go with the territory, though there may be exceptions. And let's face it, cruddy writing can sell--in the print world too, not just with ebooks.

    Not all of the above areas will be important to everybody. The important thing is to understand what you want, and to sign with an epublisher that has a chance of delivering it. If your novel is halfway decent and if you've submitted widely, this will not be your only epublishing offer.

  5. #5
    Love, Lust and Ghosts Ms. Jem's Avatar
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    [Publisher] Write Words, Inc. / ebooksonthe.net / Cambridge Books

    ebooksonthe.net wants to publish my romance novel. Can anyone tell me something about them and their track record? Has anyone had any dealings with Arline Chase or Shelley Rodgerson Chase? Many thanks.
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  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Adding link: http://www.ebooksonthe.net/

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  7. #7
    I Want Me Gold thecraftteens's Avatar
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    Apparently, one of the authors that published with them won an EpicAuthors.com award in 2004. You can see the info here:

    http://www.epicauthors.com/eppiewinners2004.html


    EpicAuthors help authors weed out the bad companies in the e-publishing world...or so their site claims.

  8. #8
    Love, Lust and Ghosts Ms. Jem's Avatar
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    Sounds like they've been around for a few years, but I have never heard of them. I was just trying to open their contract on the site but have had no luck.
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  9. #9
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I do not know about the press.

    An Eppie means the book itself was deemed good by the judges, the publisher is not to my knowledge vetted at all.
    Emily Veinglory

  10. #10
    ideas are floating where they will Stlight's Avatar
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    Unless things have changed in the last couple of years, the author is the one who enters his/her book in the Epic contest. I think you might need your publisher's okay, but the publisher wasn't the one who used to do the entering.

    Stlight

  11. #11
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Some points from the contract:

    9.) If the author has privately printed copies of the work to sell, Ebooksonthe.net will agree to take credit card orders for printed copies of the book, for a fee of $2 per title, said fee to be deducted from payment of the author's royalty statement. It shall be the responsibility of the author to mail out said print copies to the customer. The author's portion of money from credit card sales will be distributed with the author's regular royalty statement.

    11) Publisher agrees to pay Author royalties based on the following terms: 40% of the retail price for each unit sold. No royalties shall be paid on copies furnished free of charge to media reviewers, or for use in advertising or promotion of The Work.

    14) Publisher has the license to publish, promote, and distribute The Work, as an electronic book only, from the date of this agreement, and indefinitely thereafter subject to a 30-day notice of cancellation by either party, by certified mail.

    15) All copyrights remain with the author, and filing copyright documents is the sole responsibility of the author.


    Any thoughts/concerns/questions? These points stood out to me and I'm really not familiar with book contracts.
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  12. #12
    Love, Lust and Ghosts Ms. Jem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    Some points from the contract:

    9.) If the author has privately printed copies of the work to sell, Ebooksonthe.net will agree to take credit card orders for printed copies of the book, for a fee of $2 per title, said fee to be deducted from payment of the author's royalty statement. It shall be the responsibility of the author to mail out said print copies to the customer. The author's portion of money from credit card sales will be distributed with the author's regular royalty statement.

    11) Publisher agrees to pay Author royalties based on the following terms: 40% of the retail price for each unit sold. No royalties shall be paid on copies furnished free of charge to media reviewers, or for use in advertising or promotion of The Work.

    14) Publisher has the license to publish, promote, and distribute The Work, as an electronic book only, from the date of this agreement, and indefinitely thereafter subject to a 30-day notice of cancellation by either party, by certified mail.

    15) All copyrights remain with the author, and filing copyright documents is the sole responsibility of the author.

    Any thoughts/concerns/questions? These points stood out to me and I'm really not familiar with book contracts.
    First, I want to thank everyone for helping me understand the business! Victoria's links were 'right on' information. Thanks Ben Panced for the contract exerpts. I am new at this as a never-published author but:

    Clause 9: sounds like a lot a responsibility for the author, something the publisher should take care of. I know this is an e-pub, maybe they do things differently? I don't know, but I don't like it.

    Clause 14: indefinitely? That's a BAD word.

    Preditors and Editors just says ebooksonthe.net is an imprint of Write Words, Inc. There's no sign of money made.

    For an e-pub that's been out for at least a few years (and this is a guess because of that Eppie thing - there's no info on when the company started), the website doesn't have any bios or background info on the publisher Arline Chase or the editor Shelley Rodgerson Chase. It's a lot of 'what to buy, how to buy, how to submit' type info. I'm finding it hard to connect with them on a personable level.

    Does anyone know if e-pubs are recognized by AAR? I can't find any info on the editor at the AAR website.
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  13. #13
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm naive, but I don't see any red flags there.

    They're an e-press. They're buying e-rights and selling e-books. If the author wants to create and sell print copies himself, he has that option -- which is good. (E presses who want to contract print rights that they won't/can't use aren't playing fair.) And if the author wants to use the e-press as a venue to sell those print copies, the e-press is willing to cooperate and to take orders and process the credit card sales, for a two dollar fee per sale, which sounds pretty okay to me. The author then handles the shipping of the books to the buyers since he owns and has physical possession of the print copies.

    If the author does want to his books out in both print and e-format and doesn't want to do any of the work, then yeah, he'll have to skip this publisher and find one who will put his book out in both formats and handle all the sales.

    40% royalties on retail sounds normal.

    "Indefinite" is okay because the author has the right at any time, for any reason (or no reason at all) to cancel the contract if he wishes. So, in effect, it's a thirty day contract that automatically self-extends until the author (or publisher) gives a thirty day notice of cancellation.

    Most small e-only-presses don't register copyright, AFAIK, so leaving that job (and cost) to the owner isn't ideal but I think is fairly standard.

    My $0.02

  14. #14
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Unimportant, I would agree with that assessment in full. The only thing I would encourage a writer to do is seek evidence of this press's sales volumes. If the contract is okay the main difference between epublishers is the size of their publisher-specific readership and their use of off-site ebook distributors.
    Emily Veinglory

  15. #15
    Up all night to get Loki Jersey Chick's Avatar
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    I do see that this publisher's books are available at Fictionwise, Amazon & B&N - so there is distribution of some sort. I'd be curious about sales volume as well.
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  16. #16
    Love, Lust and Ghosts Ms. Jem's Avatar
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    I'll do a little more research. I think it boils down to choice at this point - whether I want to go the route of e-pubs or wait for another market.

    Thanks everybody!
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  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    HELP! Need info on ebook publishing

    I'm a new and unpublished writer. I have a completed novel and I have a non-fiction book in progress. I have tried unsuccessfully to gain agent representation for the novel.

    I know that, as an unpublished author, getting an agent is very difficult. Therefore, I have been looking into getting published by a smaller publisher, just for the publishing credit. To that end, I submitted the novel online to a publisher who advertises that they publish in ebook and print formats. The novel was accepted for publication in ebook format. Their website states that some of their ebooks are chosen for paper publishing.

    My question is this: would I be making a mistake by signing the contract and publishing the novel as an ebook? My goal is to have the book published in print format.
    Last edited by dy Gunslinger; 02-23-2009 at 07:38 PM.

  18. #18
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    The problem is not ebook versus not, it is what are your goals and can this publisher meet them. Even if you were certain you wanted to epublish, it would be wise to research the best presses--not just go with the next advertisement you see.

    If you chose more or less at random an epublisher that uses google adwords they are probably one of the larger epublishers like Loose Id, Ravenous or possibly Noble. As far as a "credit" goes these are probably of very slight interest to a big publisher. If you book is suitable for a big publisher I would suggest persisting with the many who accept unsolicited queries.
    Emily Veinglory

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    The ebook publisher who accepted the novel is called Write Words, Inc. (ebooksonthe.net), and their sister company for print publishing is Cambridge Books. Does anyone know anything about them?

  20. #20
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    http://www.hipiers.com/publishing.html
    "EBOOKS ON THE NET - www.ebooksonthe.net/. They take one-time non-exclusive rights, and copyright the one-time edition, not the work itself. Authors retain all rights to the original work and may cancel with a 30 day notice. There are no fees, books are proofread and edited, and the authors get galleys. Royalties are 40% of sales price or whatever price the publisher receives after discounts to libraries and bookstores, paid quarterly. This publisher has had a troubled history, but has been trying to straighten out. February 2005 update: Submissions are closed because of overload, but you may query anytime. April 2006 update: they have expanded into print. October 2006 update: a very favorable report from an author. Prompt responses to queries, good review process, and a joy to work with. April 2008 update: I got the Page Cannot be Found message."

    I follow epublishers of romance fairly closely and have never heard of them. Unless you have information suggesting strong editorial standards and good sales I would assume otherwise. I read some excerpts from the modern (i.e. not out of copyright classic) books they are selling in ebook format and, well, I suggest you do the same.
    Last edited by veinglory; 02-23-2009 at 08:06 PM.
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  21. #21
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    FYI - there's some discussion of their contract here (in B&BC):
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 12-05-2009 at 12:29 AM. Reason: threads merged, link moot
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  22. #22
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Shows how much of an impression they made on me; I had forgotten all about that.
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  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thumbs up Good Relationship

    Over the past couple of years I've had a very satisfying relationship with the publishers of www.writewordsinc.com. And they actually send out quarterly checks!
    You're right in that they ask only for a synopsis and the first three chapters. Actually, if your book is one in a series, they don't even ask for those items after the first book. But I feel they know what they're doing, and they appear to run the house in a businesslike way.
    My experience with other publishers who have published my work has been unfortunate. One printed up my books which began falling apart as soon as someone tried to read one. She quickly went, as they say in technical jargon, belly-up and of course I never received a penny.
    Another made up a muddled cover and buried my book in the catalog and, although I did get a little money from it, I finally got out of my contract and yep! Took the book to Write Words and they have it in their queue.
    Another published one of my books (I'll never know why, since it's a roman noir, and they publish almost strictly hot sex and even worse. They even sent the book to a romance book reviewer who agreed that it wasn't a romance novel, but the reveiwer liked it anyway!) They also made up an unsuitable cover and buried the book in among all the hot covers of naked people, so I don't think anyone ever saw my book. I got out of that as well.
    Another published two of my books but had the terrible misfortune of falling gravely ill and had to leave. So far I've never received any money or accounting.
    At write words, publisher Arline Chase and my editor, Shelley Rodgerson (who also designed my neat covers) are very easy to talk to. They're supportive and cooperative, nd as I mentioned earlier, they actually send me money..
    With any of these smaller companies, a person is unlikely to hit the best-seller lists. After all, they have no advertising budget and not much in the way of distribution.
    The big bookstores have pretty much killed the small booksellers, but now even those are having trouble. Look at Borders.
    I'm pinning my hopes now on the Rise of the Machines: E-book readers. At first I was extremely resistant to the whole idea. I wanted a print book I could hold in my hand. (I have some of those), but more and more I see the benefits of a handy reader with your completele library on it. Fiction, fact, study book, reference....
    But back to Write Words: I give them a thumbs up.

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    C. M. Albrecht couldn't have said it better. As another much satisfied author with the publishers of www.writewordsinc.com,
    I recommend them most highly. I also had the misfortune of dealing with three other publishers with whom I was extremely dissatisfied with. I won't go into detail here, but sufficient to say it took a bit, but I finally managed to retrieve my manuscripts, and sent them on to Write Words Inc. Arline and Shelley do edit the manuscripts, do send out galleys and do send out quarterly checks. And are more than willing to help anyway they can. They will even return the book to the printer for redo, if they are not satisfied with the outcome. As a small traditional press, they do what they can to publicize our books. And for those who believe they accept every manuscript sent them, fear not. Even if I now have eleven novels published with them, they have rejected others of mine. My books are in several formats, ebook, Kindle, Nook as well as in standard print.
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  25. #25
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    The services you describe are basic skills for an epublisher (making formats, using distributors, sending checks). So good but not actually impressive. And some small romance epublishers (e.g. Samhain) actually are showing up on some best sellers lists, but that is beside the point I suppose. Any chance of a comment re: sales? Generally speaking?
    Emily Veinglory

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