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Old 08-07-2010, 08:43 PM   #1
Writergal77
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Landmark Literary Agency / Brighton Publishing

Has anyone heard of this Literary Agency or this publisher? The agents are Don McGuire and Kathie McGuire. I can't seem to find any info on them when I google their names, and P&E does not have them or the publisher listed at all. Here's a link to the publisher : www.brightonpublishing.com and here's one to the agency : www.landmarkliteraryagency.com Any information would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:23 PM   #2
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Both websites throw up huge red flags.

The opening line of the Brighton Publishing website, "Brighton Publishing is a traditional publisher offering authors 21st century options" strongly implies that they are a disguised vanity press using the POD business model. This is confirmed by the next sentence, "We have the knowledge to provide you with well reasoned advice and professional quality, [sic for the misplaced comma] service and products".

Commercial publishers do not see themselves as serving writers: they serve readers, who provide their income, and publish only the very best of the manuscripts submitted to them (either directly or, more commonly, through agents). The remainder of the home page confirms that they are a vanity press, and the covers of the books featured have all the hallmarks of badly designed vanity publications.

Inevitably, like many vanity presses, they protest too much: "We are not a vanity publisher or self-publishing company, and only take self-publishing clients when it is appropriate." The lack of logic in this self-contradicting statement should send any sensible reader running to the hills. So should their patently nonsensical claim that "when you publish with us, you will enjoy the benefits and prestige as [sic] any other published author".

Other sections of the website go on to spout the usual rubbish about agents and commercial publishers attempting to do down self-published books because they find themselves being marginalised. In fact, the emergence of POD presses has made their lives a great deal easier, by removing a lot of the slush from the slush pile. Other statements are downright dishonest: "The [commercial] publisher, as the owner of the rights to the book, has no obligation to the author to produce the book". Nonsense: virtually all commercial publishing contracts state that if the book is not issued within 12 months, then rights revert to the author (who usually gets to keep the advance).

Landmark Literary Agency offers a fair bit of puffery too: "our goal is to provide our client the personal relationship and attention needed to bring their manuscript to print. We invest in our client's dream…" Literary agencies' real purpose is not to realise writers’ dreams, but to separate the wheat from the chaff on behalf of publishers. I have a strong suspicion that this may be an agent that charges upfront fees, but the website does not elucidate.
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Old 08-08-2010, 01:04 AM   #3
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Anytime there's something like an agency/publisher, it's always a conflict of interest and generally a bad idea. An agency who doubles as a publisher or editor is usually an indicator of their inability to make enough sales to sustain themselves as an agency alone.
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:35 AM   #4
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Thank you Richard and M.R.J. for your responses. You've helped me a lot =)
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:17 AM   #5
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I am Don McGuire with Brighton Publishing, and would like to post just a quick note in response to some of the comments.

Brighton Publishing is a new imprint as of this year. The term "offering 21st Century Options," is intended to convey the fact that we do offer other services in addition to just publishing. I believe it's a benefit to authors, and am proud we are able to provide these services. It's unfortunate, that this may be viewed negatively by some, and we make no apologies for not fitting the traditional publishing mold.

The website is a new work in progress, and our webmaster is continually refining it. I admit it did have a number of errors and some poor wording. As we discover mistakes or content that does not fully convey our intent, we make every effort to correct them as soon as possible.

As far as vanity publishing is concerned, we are absolutely not a vanity publisher. Out of almost 1300 submissions, we have accepted less than 5% for follow up consideration, and contracted only 13 for publishing. Two in our traditional publishing format and 11 in our subsidy publishing format. We anticipate releases to be in early 2011. I doubt you will find many publishers willing to be this candid.

The comment regarding a perceived contradiction in accepting "self-publishing clients when appropriate," is clearly explained in the FAQ's page on the website.

Landmark Literary is currently an inactive agency where we previously provided services only for the academic community in Arizona. It was never intended for general public consumption, and should not have been able to be accessed by the general public. That error occurred when we recently re-posted Brighton to the web, and has since been corrected.

Although we are not individually well know on the internet, we have many years of experience, and are well known in the industry. I'm sure as we continue to grow our imprint we will make some mistakes, and have no doubt they will be immediately pointed out to us. We actually appreciate correction that allows us to improve our company, and more accurately convey our intent.

We encourage anyone with questions about our company to contact us. My e-mail address is donald@brightonpublishing.com I am hopeful this non-literary posting will answer most questions.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:57 AM   #6
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Please excuse the errors. Composing and typing on a BlackBerry is difficult!
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:15 AM   #7
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Sorry, but subsidy and vanity are the same thing. And even PublishAmerica, one of the most notorious vanity publishers, has rejected manuscripts. Taking payment to publish someone's work is vanity publishing regardless of what you want to call it. Publishing two works in a 'traditional' model (you might want to use 'commercial' if you're looking to be taken seriously, as the term 'traditional' was coined by a vanity pub) doesn't make you non-vanity. You're not the first publisher to come along offering both under one roof, and you probably won't be the last. It's a conflict of interest, unless and until there's a seperation of the two. Otherwise the question becomes where does the money really come from - traditional contracts or vanity ones.
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:42 AM   #8
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Good grief.

I just took a look at Brighton Publishing's home page (the link is upstream) and found a link labelled "Traditional vs Non-Traditional Publishing". When I clicked on it a PDF opened which discusses at some length the differences between mainstream, or commercial publishing and... other sorts of publishing.

I was going to discuss a few of the article's shortcomings but there are so many that I am not sure where to start. It's full of misinformation and false statistics; all it shows to me is that the person who wrote it does not understand how mainstream publishing works, and has probably learned all his opinions on the internet.

Oh, and it states that John Grisham and Christopher Paolini self-published. Which just isn't true, no matter how many times people insist that it is.

I would give this publisher a very wide berth indeed.
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:13 PM   #9
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I think this company is entirely up front in what they offer. They're not for me, but that has more to do with the fact that I can't find any of their books, so either they don't have any or their marketing is no good. Also, that their website is designed entirely for attracting authors, rather than readers. Furthermore, I don't like the idea of being part of a company that has a division dedicated to Vanity (or pay) publishing. But that's just me. Perhaps someone else won't care.

I mean, does it matter if the bulk of their profit comes from their vanity publishing division? what difference does that make for the author who have been offered a standard contract? Like I said above, I don't like the association, but someone else might not care.

Also, I really think this attack on everyone who uses the term "Traditional Publishing" rather than "Commercial Publishing" is getting kinda old. I see it on every thread in AW and I don't think it's a valid criticism anymore. It's a term coined by the vanity pubs, sure, but it's caught on, so why resist it? Top literary agents who know all there is to know about the industry use "Traditional Publishing" in their blogs all the time, and no one thinks they don't know what they're talking about.

http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2010/04...hat-hurts.html

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010...ishing_21.html

This company isn't offering anything that a dozen other companies aren't offering, and they're being up front on their site. If they like your work and think it has market appeal, they'll shoulder the expense. If they kinda like your work but aren't sure if they'll recoup their investment, they'll shoulder most of the expenses, if they don't like your stuff, they'll offer to publish it at your expense. I can think of 4 other publishers who offer this exact model and there's no doubt a hundred others that I can't think of.

I think as more and more people with varying backgrounds get into publishing, we're going to see additional models emerge. Will they work? I don't know. I hope they do, because I want to see authors succeed. I know we all do.

I'm not saying this is a good company, I have no idea. I judge publishers on quality of product and the sales they generate, so if they have examples of books and sales figures, I'd like to see them. I just think jumping on them is a bit harsh given they're hardly unique in their approach, and they don't seem to be hiding their business model.

Also, I was under the impression that Christopher Paolini's parents published his work for him under a publishing company they started specifically to publish his first book. That's pretty much self-publishing. And didn't Grisham go with a very small publisher who went bankrupt and couldn't sell his books? I think if you're going to tell someone that they're wrong about something, at least put a link or explain why so that they know the truth.
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:22 PM   #10
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Hi, Don, and welcome to AW.

Quote:
D.McGuire:
Brighton Publishing is a new imprint as of this year.
What's it an imprint of? Usually, when a publishing company refers to an "imprint" it is referring to a specific trading line that it's set up, e.g. Puffin books is an imprint of Penguin books and is there as a specific children's fiction line.

Your use of the word "imprint" suggests that Brighton Publishing is an imprint of an established publishing company. It would be good to know what that publishing company is.

Quote:
D.McGuire:
The term "offering 21st Century Options," is intended to convey the fact that we do offer other services in addition to just publishing. I believe it's a benefit to authors, and am proud we are able to provide these services.
The problem that authors face when paying for services, such as the subsidy model that you offer, is that in almost all cases, they do not earn back enough from sales of the book to cover the money that they have expended up front. What we have also found is that many publishers offering such services make no attempt to manage authors' expectations in this regard, which in turn leads to complaints and reports made about such publishing companies several months down the road.

What efforts do you make to inform your authors about the potential disadvantages of paying for publishing services? What efforts are made to assist authors paying such services in recouping their costs? For example, do you guarantee your authors in-store placement book shops?

Quote:
D.McGuire:
It's unfortunate, that this may be viewed negatively by some, and we make no apologies for not fitting the traditional publishing mold.
One thing to say in Brighton Publishing's favour is that it is at least up front in that it's charging authors for services. However, it is not the case that "some" view paid publishing services in a negative light - you will find that many people view it negatively - in fact, people who pay for your publishing services and who later seek to use it as a professional publishing credit will find themselves unable to do so.

Because subsidy (or vanity/self-publishing) has such a bad reputation, many of the professional writing bodies in the US and elsewhere will not consider writers who publish through such means to be eligible for professional membership.

Again, this is why it's so important to manage author expectations when you offer them this route.

Quote:
D.McGuire:
I admit it did have a number of errors and some poor wording. As we discover mistakes or content that does not fully convey our intent, we make every effort to correct them as soon as possible.
It's great that you're prepared to make changes to the website, although ideally any professional company should ensure that its website is error free from the date of its launch.

Quote:
D.McGuire:
As far as vanity publishing is concerned, we are absolutely not a vanity publisher.
Unfortunately, an author is generally views as being vanity published if they paid another company up front to publish their book.

Quote:
D.McGuire:
Out of almost 1300 submissions, we have accepted less than 5% for follow up consideration, and contracted only 13 for publishing.
Vanity publishing is not dependent on the number of acceptances. There are plenty of vanity publishers out there that don't accept everything submitted, but which nevertheless eventually require people to pay up front for services.

Quote:
D.McGuire:
Two in our traditional publishing format and 11 in our subsidy publishing format. We anticipate releases to be in early 2011. I doubt you will find many publishers willing to be this candid.
I appreciate the candor.

Are you able to give a ballpark indication of the advances that you paid for those 2 books you accepted for your "traditional" route (if you're more comfortable talking in terms of the 'nice', 'very nice' etc classifications used by Publishers Marketplace then that would be equallly good if you don't want to use figures).

Quote:
D.McGuire:
Although we are not individually well know on the internet, we have many years of experience, and are well known in the industry.
That's good to know. Are you able to share where your publishing experience came from and which companies you have previously worked for?

MM

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Old 08-08-2010, 06:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Sydewinder:
does it matter if the bulk of their profit comes from their vanity publishing division? what difference does that make for the author who have been offered a standard contract? Like I said above, I don't like the association, but someone else might not care.
A lot of it depends on what a 'traditionally published' author is getting from the company, e.g. if their books are going to be in stores, what kind of marketing and promotion support they get etc?

The big problem though is that commercial publishers running vanity/self-publishing arms are not viewed favourably in the industry. You only have to see what happened to Harlequin when it tried a self-publishing venture to see the harm that it can do.

There's also the fact that if a company is known for offering a vanity arm, what's to stop people assuming that 'traditionally' published authors through that company are not actually vanity published themselves?

Quote:
Sydewinder:
I can think of 4 other publishers who offer this exact model and there's no doubt a hundred others that I can't think of.
Which 4?

Quote:
Sydewinder:
I think as more and more people with varying backgrounds get into publishing, we're going to see additional models emerge. Will they work? I don't know. I hope they do, because I want to see authors succeed. I know we all do.
Models like this have been around for years and not only is the number of authors who have succeeded very small, but such authors have only succeeded because they have been picked up by a commercial publisher able to get the book out there and promote it.

The problem that publishing companies using this model face is exactly the same one that commercial publishers face - getting books out there into stores, getting the marketing right and hoping that they take off. The difference is that many publishers that use a vanity operation find that the commercial risks of publishing a book lead them to rely more on charging authors in order to make the accounts work, with the result that many stop commercial publishing altogether.

Authors in turn find themselves out of pocket, having to do a lot of the marketing and promotion themselves and find that their publisher is only interested in their shelling out for more services that, in all likelihood, will not see them recoup the costs.

Now, I'm not saying that this is the way Brighton will go, but I have seen it happen plenty of times before and you can search this Forum and find examples of it.

Quote:
Sydewinder:
I'm not saying this is a good company, I have no idea. I judge publishers on quality of product and the sales they generate, so if they have examples of books and sales figures, I'd like to see them. I just think jumping on them is a bit harsh given they're hardly unique in their approach, and they don't seem to be hiding their business model.
You've been participating in threads in this Forum for over a year, so surely you know by now that the purpose of raising concerns and pointing out potential flaws is to help authors avoid making a potentially bad choice?

I've already said that Brighton Publishing is up front about charging for services - that is a step up from many companies out there that do bait and switch - but that doesn't mean that authors shouldn't know about the potential risks and my comments in my previous post about author expectations is a legitimate one that they should be aware of.

Quote:
Sydewinder:
I was under the impression that Christopher Paolini's parents published his work for him under a publishing company they started specifically to publish his first book.
That's a common misconception. Paolini International LLC (the family publishing company) was actually started in 1997 and had published 2 anti-cult books and a book written by Paolini's mother. There's a website here that cuts and pastes an article from the NYT about it:

http://www.serendipit-e.com/favorite...s_finding.html

Eragon was released in 2002. While it was self-published by the family owned company, the company did have prior experience of publishing such books and it's notable that while the book made money for the family, it wasn't until Carl Hiassen's step son read it and gave it to his dad, who in turn gave it to his publisher Knopf, that the sales went stratospheric. There's another link about there here:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/n...-paolini_x.htm

Quote:
Sydewinder:
And didn't Grisham go with a very small publisher who went bankrupt and couldn't sell his books? I think if you're going to tell someone that they're wrong about something, at least put a link or explain why so that they know the truth.
Fair enough. Here's a link to an interview with John Grisham talking about that experience:

http://www.slushpile.net/index.php/2...risham-author/

He says that Wynwood took the chance, paying him $15,000:

http://davidisaak.blogspot.com/2008/...n-legends.html

However, the book didn't sell and the publisher went bankrupt.

He did sell copies of his book from the trunk of his car to help out:

http://www.bookmarket.com/selfpublish-g.htm

MM
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydewinder View Post
I think as more and more people with varying backgrounds get into publishing, we're going to see additional models emerge. Will they work? I don't know. I hope they do, because I want to see authors succeed. I know we all do.
The thing to ask yourself is whether these "emerging models" are effective and in the author's best interest. Will these models get books on the store shelves, or will the author be the unpaid sales force for the publisher/printer?

These ideas sound terrific until you get into the nuts and bolts of trying to sell books. These types of publishers are normally underfunded, have no distribution, no sales teams representing their catalog, and they end up blowing through their cash reserves in a few short years.

That's why the vanity option is so seductive to a young undereducated press. It's a great way to get an instant infusion of cash, and who cares that it's a tremendous conflict of interest? so what if their "traditional" side is set for failure because they have no distribution and don't appear to have the first clue on how hard it is to sell books? All they have to do is take a quick look at their bottom line and say, "oops! Getting a bit low here, so we need more vanity books." Bada bing, bada boom.

The author is deluded into thinking they're getting a great deal and fork over the money, shouldering virtually all of the risk, and keeping the publisher afloat.

That.
Is.
Not.
Publishing.

It's serfdom. They are subsidizing the publisher - nothing more, nothing less. You want to see authors succeed. We all do. But I guarantee that this "emerging model" will not make that happen.

And when they go out of business in a few years, the authors are victimized once again.

All I can say is that what looks really cool at first blush is little more than a model that will keep the publisher's door open on the author's back. That is not success.

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Old 08-08-2010, 09:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydewinder View Post
Also, I really think this attack on everyone who uses the term "Traditional Publishing" rather than "Commercial Publishing" is getting kinda old. I see it on every thread in AW and I don't think it's a valid criticism anymore. It's a term coined by the vanity pubs, sure, but it's caught on, so why resist it? Top literary agents who know all there is to know about the industry use "Traditional Publishing" in their blogs all the time, and no one thinks they don't know what they're talking about.
We're not worried about whether the agents know that. It's the new authors who don't and that's important because it's used to snare those new authors. Besides, the vanity pubs have used the term "traditional" because they know the term "vanity" has a bad reputation. Should they be permitted to wipe the slate clean when they're still vanity pubs?
Quote:
I think as more and more people with varying backgrounds get into publishing, we're going to see additional models emerge.
The real problem here is that many of those people aren't qualified to be publishers and it's not up to authors to subsidize them in Publisher, the RPG.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:59 PM   #14
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I don't want to hijack this thread, so if a mod thinks this discussion is better served elsewhere, please turf it. Also, how the heck to do you multi quote more than one post? I had to do this in word.

Quote:
Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
The thing to ask yourself is whether these "emerging models" are effective and in the author's best interest. Will these models get books on the store shelves, or will the author be the unpaid sales force for the publisher/printer?
I will say that I completely agree that most books are sold via book stores. As such, publishers that have bookstore placement trump those that don't. Your criticism, though, is one that I hear over and over: either your book is on shelves, or it's not worth it. As if the only way to sell a book, written by a new author, is to have it on the shelf so that potential buyers might pick it up while browsing. That's just not so anymore. I used to think that, too, and perhaps even 3 years ago that would have been the case.

But lately I've been buying books via Amazon, and I scroll through the "people who bought this book also bought" list, and find myself adding a couple titles (browsing). I've taken notice of the publishers listed there, and several are POD and some are even self-published. I'm not sure what percentage of the population purchase as I do, but I suspect it's a growing one.

I could be wrong about the percentage, but don't 30% of book sales come from online sales? Wasn't that figure something like 10% just 2 years ago? Sure some of those come from people searching for specific titles, but I used to go into book stores all the time, and now I never do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
These ideas sound terrific until you get into the nuts and bolts of trying to sell books. These types of publishers are normally underfunded, have no distribution, no sales teams representing their catalog, and they end up blowing through their cash reserves in a few short years.

That's why the vanity option is so seductive to a young undereducated press. It's a great way to get an instant infusion of cash, and who cares that it's a tremendous conflict of interest? so what if their "traditional" side is set for failure because they have no distribution and don't appear to have the first clue on how hard it is to sell books? All they have to do is take a quick look at their bottom line and say, "oops! Getting a bit low here, so we need more vanity books." Bada bing, bada boom.
Okay, the question is, what do they do with the money they generate from the vanity side? Do they use it to promote the titles in their list? Or do they use it to go to Cabo? If it’s the former, I promise you, readers won't know the difference. I agree that there is a problem with this model, but that problem is the fact that agents don't look too favorably on vanity published authors, so "guilty by association" is something an authors needs to be aware of. Telling would-be authors this fact, would be entirely valid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
It's serfdom. They are subsidizing the publisher - nothing more, nothing less. You want to see authors succeed. We all do. But I guarantee that this "emerging model" will not make that happen.

And when they go out of business in a few years, the authors are victimized once again.

All I can say is that what looks really cool at first blush is little more than a model that will keep the publisher's door open on the author's back. That is not success.
You may very well be right about this particular model. But there is not only one way to sell books and the vanity/traditional model is not the only one that deviates from the norm.

Also, a press going out of business has not, by virtue of going out of business, victimized an author. If dorchester doesn't pull through their trouble soon, and go under, will their authors have been victimized? I think not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
A lot of it depends on what a 'traditionally published' author is getting from the company, e.g. if their books are going to be in stores, what kind of marketing and promotion support they get etc?

The big problem though is that commercial publishers running vanity/self-publishing arms are not viewed favorably in the industry. You only have to see what happened to Harlequin when it tried a self-publishing venture to see the harm that it can do.

There's also the fact that if a company is known for offering a vanity arm, what's to stop people assuming that 'traditionally' published authors through that company are not actually vanity published themselves?
True. The “Guilty by Association” fact is hard to ignore. I was initially responding to the “Huge red flags” comment from up thread. I thought it was not justified given this company’s openness about their model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
The problem that publishing companies using this model face is exactly the same one that commercial publishers face - getting books out there into stores, getting the marketing right and hoping that they take off. The difference is that many publishers that use a vanity operation find that the commercial risks of publishing a book lead them to rely more on charging authors in order to make the accounts work, with the result that many stop commercial publishing altogether.

Authors in turn find themselves out of pocket, having to do a lot of the marketing and promotion themselves and find that their publisher is only interested in their shelling out for more services that, in all likelihood, will not see them recoup the costs.
Valid point. However, there are some presses that succeed because they fight to build their list, despite an absence of books in stores. Drollerie press, for example, is a POD/E press that has gone after authors they wanted as part of their list, they’ve won awards, and the publishers have played to two of their strengths: Library sales (having come from a background in libraries), and graphic design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
You've been participating in threads in this Forum for over a year, so surely you know by now that the purpose of raising concerns and pointing out potential flaws is to help authors avoid making a potentially bad choice?
Yes, I have. And yes, pointing out pitfalls, and flaws, is what AW BR&BC is all about. But I’ve seen the “pointing of flaws” quickly decelerate into outright attacks. Hell, I’ve been caught up in it myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKuzminski View Post
We're not worried about whether the agents know that. It's the new authors who don't and that's important because it's used to snare those new authors. Besides, the vanity pubs have used the term "traditional" because they know the term "vanity" has a bad reputation. Should they be permitted to wipe the slate clean when they're still vanity pubs?
The real problem here is that many of those people aren't qualified to be publishers and it's not up to authors to subsidize them in Publisher, the RPG.
“Vanity” in any context has bad connotations. I can understand why they’d want to avoid it. I’m sure “Vanity” was not coined by “subsidy” publishers. Regardless, I think the point worth looking at is your assertion that many people aren’t qualified to be publishers.

What do you think qualifies a person to start a publishing business? Must they have experience in the publishing industry? If so dozens of well regarded publishers who do excellent work would not have qualified. To think of a few examples: Snowbooks, one of the leading UK indie publishers with international distribution and award winning authors, was started by book sellers (see their site). They knew what it took to get books into stores, and they did it. Wasn’t Elora’s cave started by a woman with no experience at all? Perhaps that’s a misconception, too. I’m not sure. There are others that I could name, that didn’t follow the “traditional” approach and still found success.
There are some pod publishers who get awesome sales, and there are some publishers who are distributed who get piss-poor sales. Sales and product design (since I think the two are somewhat connected) are the main things an author should be looking at. I mean, what's the point if you don't get any sales?


Final thought for this post:

I keep my eye open for new publishing models, I think with the advent of all these social networking sites, book review sites, a proliferation of internet technologies and new ways of distributing books outside of bookstores, new, exciting models will emerge. No doubt they'll be adopted by the big guys, too, which is why I would tell anyone to start at the top and work your way down. But look at sales when considering signing a contract.

I am against authors going the vanity route on the basis that they shouldn't pay to play. But there are some models that aren't entirely dissimilar. Eg - epubs that set a benchmark of e-sales before they go to print. They want their money out before they increase the investment. I think that's entirely warranted even though it might lead to authors buying their own books to push it to print (which I think some epubs know will happen).

I need to go lay down now.

Last edited by Sydewinder; 08-09-2010 at 09:02 PM. Reason: sp
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:52 PM   #15
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Sydewinder:
Your criticism, though, is one that I hear over and over: either your book is on shelves, or it's not worth it. As if the only way to sell a book, written by a new author, is to have it on the shelf so that potential buyers might pick it up while browsing. That's just not so anymore. I used to think that, too, and perhaps even 3 years ago that would have been the case.
The point about bookstore placement is that people are still more likely in practice to see your book while browsing the shelves there than they are on an internet only site. Even though there are functions like 'customers who liked this, also bought', such functions are dependent on someone having bought that other book first or on the website's algorythms making the connection.

Quote:
Sydewinder:
I could be wrong about the percentage, but don't 30% of book sales come from online sales? Wasn't that figure something like 10% just 2 years ago? Sure some of those come from people searching for specific titles, but I used to go into book stores all the time, and now I never do.
One of the reasons why on-line sales have increased their market share is because they can offer books cheaper than bricks and mortar stores owing to lower overheads. Waterstones and the late-lamented Borders in the UK have both complained that customers usually come in to find particular book titles and check out the contents and then go to Amazon to buy a copy because their discounts are so much deeper.

It's one of the reasons why (IMO anyway) it's so important to keep shopping at bricks and mortar stores - including local independents where you get it because for all Amazon's efforts, they can't match the expertise for book recommendations that a good store can offer.

Quote:
Sydewinder:
Okay, the question is, what do they do with the money they generate from the vanity side? Do they use it to promote the titles in their list? Or do they use it to go to Cabo? If it’s the former, I promise you, readers won't know the difference.
That's presuming that the general book reading public ever find out about those books.

Again, even the well intentioned publishers who have started off with subsidy or vanity side operations find that it's simply more lucrative and less risky to bulk up the subsidy/vanity side of it. The economics of book publishing is tight enough at the best of times and charging people to publish is a way of shoring up your balance sheet.

If you're running the publisher as a business and you're looking to make money from it to pay your bills, put food on the table etc, all of the hard work that you have to do to make commercial publishing work looks incredibly difficult compared to what it takes to make a subsidy/vanity operation work.

Quote:
Sydewinder:
I agree that there is a problem with this model, but that problem is the fact that agents don't look too favorably on vanity published authors, so "guilty by association" is something an authors needs to be aware of. Telling would-be authors this fact, would be entirely valid.
It's not just agents. Commercial publishers ignore vanity published/subsidy published authors because they either fail to get the commercial sales figures it would take to attract their attention or because their book is of such limited interest, that the author taps out the sales market.

I agree that managing author expectations is important. All too often though, subsidy/vanity publishers don't. In fact, most subsidy publishers couch their language in terms of "sharing the risk" and "sharing the opportunity" without making clear absolutely everything that should be there to help manage that. And then you have the fact that the author starts the venture in the red and then have to spend more to try and drum up sales.

It's all a slippery slope.

Quote:
Sydewinder:
Also, a press going out of business has not, by virtue of going out of business, victimized an author. If dorchester doesn't pull through their trouble soon, and go under, will their authors have been victimized? I think not.
I think that the Dorcester authors who have been denied royalties due to them for the past several months on the basis that the company can't afford to pay them would beg to differ with an assessment that they have not been victimised.

However a publisher that goes under doesn't just take any money that is owed to authors though - it also takes the publishing rights to that book, thereby preventing them from at least making the attempt to find a publisher willing to take on second publishing rights.

This is why it's so important for authors to do their research up front and one thing that a publisher offering a subsidy/vanity arm does suggest is that they don't have a lot of capital investment in it, which is why they need to run something that gives them 'easy' cash up front.

Quote:
Sydewinder:
I was initially responding to the “Huge red flags” comment from up thread. I thought it was not justified given this company’s openness about their model.
Openness about the business model doesn't mitigate the fact that there are potential problems there for authors that they should be aware of.

Quote:
Sydewinder:
However, there are some presses that succeed because they fight to build their list, despite an absence of books in stores. Drollerie press, for example, is a POD/E press that has gone after authors they wanted as part of their list, they’ve won awards, and the publishers have played to two of their strengths: Library sales (having come from a background in libraries), and graphic design.
I'm not familiar with Drollerie Press, but it sounds as though they had the background of experience to tap into alternative markets - which can be risky to the author and the success depends on the company's previous experience.

Again, it's why it's important to do research on the company to see exactly what they propose to do with the book once it's published. All too often, the author is left out on their own.

Quote:
Sydewinder:
I’ve seen the “pointing of flaws” quickly decelerate into outright attacks. Hell, I’ve been caught up in it myself.
Fair point, well made.

MM
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:51 AM   #16
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Post Brighton Publishing

I just recently stumbled upon this posting. I went to the Brighton Publishing website and quite honestly found it informative and probably one of the most up front and honest publishers websites I have visited. Although I don't personally agree with all of the information on the site, I did find their candor and honesty refreshing. Based on the information from the site they appear to be a legitimate subsidy publisher.

I do think they should give more personal information on the site about the principals. Having lived and schooled in Arizona, I am a somewhat familar with their background, which I think would benefit them by providing it on the site.

I know they were one of the largest publishers in the state a number of years ago and Mr. Mcguire was the president of the Arizona Publishers Assoc. for a number of years. Kathie Mcguire was well known and worked for some of the largest presses in the state. I can't reall the name of their company, however I do know they published a lot of academic books in addition to general trade publishing. I believe their company also provided a substantial amount of sub-contract publishing for many of the smaller presses.They have been in the industry for many years

I know little about their new publishing company, but they previously have an excellent reputation in the industry. Just about anyone involved in the university or academic press arena knows who they are.

Although I don't know them personally, some of the comments on the postings regarding their company are clearly unfair and based on ignorance. I can never understand why anything new is always suspect on the site and subjected to an inquisition. I see this all too often on this forum. Individuals and companies with outstanding backgrounds being slammed with immature and irresponsible posts from posters failing to do even the most basic inquiry. I believe we do a disservice to aspiring writers by continually attacking everything and anything, especially without having knowledge of what we are talking about. Lets keep this site professional by making responsible postings.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:51 AM   #17
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I just took a look at Brighton Publishing's home page (the link is upstream) and found a link labelled "Traditional vs Non-Traditional Publishing". When I clicked on it a PDF opened which discusses at some length the differences between mainstream, or commercial publishing and... other sorts of publishing.

I was going to discuss a few of the article's shortcomings but there are so many that I am not sure where to start. It's full of misinformation and false statistics; all it shows to me is that the person who wrote it does not understand how mainstream publishing works, and has probably learned all his opinions on the internet.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:46 AM   #18
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[QUOTE=bw1450;5508478] I just recently stumbled upon this posting.

Although I don't know them personally, some of the comments on the postings regarding their company are clearly unfair and based on ignorance. I can never understand why anything new is always suspect on the site and subjected to an inquisition. I see this all too often on this forum. Individuals and companies with outstanding backgrounds being slammed with immature and irresponsible posts from posters failing to do even the most basic inquiry. I believe we do a disservice to aspiring writers by continually attacking everything and anything, especially without having knowledge of what we are talking about. Lets keep this site professional by making responsible postings.[/QUOTE]

[my bolds]
You stumbled on this posting yet you 'see this all the time on this site' and this is your first posting.
Sorry, this doesn't add up. Anyone smell sockpuppet?

Individuals with outstanding backgrounds do get asked tough questions here and because they are outstanding individuals they answer them satisfactorily and with grace. Clueless wannabees and scammers bluster and evade answering; then people who have never posted before show up to defend them.
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:32 AM   #19
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Post Response

I have posted here before, but not for quite some time. I couldn't remember my information and had to start from scratch. I do occasionally still visit the site and read the posts. Your post is a classic example of my comments in my previous post.

I attended U of A in Arizona and know of these individuals and their previous company, as do most others who were involved in the academic press.

This information is readily available.
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:02 AM   #20
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Before Signing Off

Before I sign off, I want to make a final comment.

This site is a wonderful resource for writers and will remain so based upon the responsibility of the posters. I believe continual attacks have a negative impact on the site.

I would love to see some industry professionals taking the time to post on the site. I know we have a few, but very few. I suspect one of the reasons for their lack of posting is the failure of respondents to act maturely and responsibly whenever posts are made. I believe the habit of challenging every word in postings, always wary and suspicious, would make many reluctant to post. Again, I fail to see the benefit of subjecting posters to an inquisition, shifting the burden of proof to them by requiring substantiation of every statement.

Few will engage in meaningful dialogue under such conditions.
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:19 AM   #21
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Very few? Seriously? For one who claims to be a regular, you seem to have missed that not only are many "industry professionals" frequent posters, they're usually the first to point out the problems with any given venture, and often the loudest to decry bad deals.

In short, we've listed how Landmark / Brighton isn't worth a writer's time. Let's hear your evidence to the contrary.
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:51 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by bw1450 View Post
Before I sign off, I want to make a final comment.

This site is a wonderful resource for writers and will remain so based upon the responsibility of the posters. I believe continual attacks have a negative impact on the site.

I would love to see some industry professionals taking the time to post on the site. I know we have a few, but very few. I suspect one of the reasons for their lack of posting is the failure of respondents to act maturely and responsibly whenever posts are made. I believe the habit of challenging every word in postings, always wary and suspicious, would make many reluctant to post. Again, I fail to see the benefit of subjecting posters to an inquisition, shifting the burden of proof to them by requiring substantiation of every statement.

Few will engage in meaningful dialogue under such conditions.


Who has submitted anyone to an inquisition in this thread? May I point out that the last post in it was three months ago, before you showed up to drag it back to light?

No one is saying the owners of this press are bad people or people with no integrity. What we are saying is that it's a vanity press, and vanity presses are not good ideas for those working toward a professional writing career.

If you believe unsubstantiated attacks have been made, why not go back and point out the false statements/attacks in this thread?

Many, many publishers, editors, agents, etc. engage in dialogue in these threads, and have no problem answering questions. They do it all the time, and those discussions are normally polite and professional.

Frankly, to me acting maturely and responsibly is making sure new writers understand all of the possible benefits and/or consequences of a decision to go with publisher X or Y. Acting maturely and responsibly is informing them what those might be and sharing my years of experience with them, so they don't fall into some of the traps I and many others fell into. What is NOT mature, and is definitely nowhere near responsible, would be for me to blindly cheer for any new "publisher" who set out a shingle, and who cares what happens to those poor writers who think they're getting/achieving something real.

That's not just irresponsible to me. It's reprehensible.


If the Bewares forum is too "negative" for you, you might do better in some of the other subforums here; novels, the various genre forums, research, etc. There's a lot more to AW than Bewares, which of course I'm sure you know since you've been lurking here for ages.
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:33 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by bw1450 View Post
I would love to see some industry professionals taking the time to post on the site.
I've counted (perhaps incorrectly) 14 posters on this thread. Subract the owner of the press in question, yourself, and the original poster -- that leaves 11. If by "industry professional" you mean professional editor, owner of a successful commercial press, professionally pubished author, or manager of an internationally-recognised author advocacy group, then, um, 10 of the 11 posters would fall into that group.
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:00 AM   #24
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Quote:
bw1450:
I just recently stumbled upon this posting.
Whatever. This thread was dead for 3 months and had slipped back down the Forum. You may have stumbled on it via a Google search on the company but it didn't creep up on you ninja style to trip you up.

Quote:
bw1450:
I went to the Brighton Publishing website and quite honestly found it informative and probably one of the most up front and honest publishers websites I have visited. Although I don't personally agree with all of the information on the site, I did find their candor and honesty refreshing.
Okay then. You found it informative, except for the bits of the information that you didn't agree with.

So what bits of information didn't you agree with and why?

Quote:
bw1450:
Based on the information from the site they appear to be a legitimate subsidy publisher.
I don't think anyone here has questioned their "legitimacy". The issue is whether subsidy publishing (or vanity publishing) is good for authors.

For some - those who want a physical book to hold in their hands - it can be fine (although rather than pay a large sum up front they can use Lulu for the same effect).

The problem comes with those who think that subsidy publishing is a way of making money in the long run because in most cases, those authors end up deeper and deeper in the red, particularly if their only revenue is royalties on copies sold.

Quote:
bw1450:
I know they were one of the largest publishers in the state a number of years ago and Mr. Mcguire was the president of the Arizona Publishers Assoc. for a number of years. Kathie Mcguire was well known and worked for some of the largest presses in the state. I can't reall the name of their company, however I do know they published a lot of academic books in addition to general trade publishing. I believe their company also provided a substantial amount of sub-contract publishing for many of the smaller presses.They have been in the industry for many years
Well that's all good for know. Sadly though, it doesn't mean that their vanity press is a good choice for authors.

Quote:
bw1450:
I know little about their new publishing company, but they previously have an excellent reputation in the industry. Just about anyone involved in the university or academic press arena knows who they are.
That makes it sad that they're switching a business model to making money from authors rather than from the public.

Quote:
bw1450:
some of the comments on the postings regarding their company are clearly unfair and based on ignorance.
Okay, well by your own admission you don't know anything about how this current business is being run and your own information about the founders seems to be out of date and you yourself say that you disagree with some of the information on their site.

My comments are not coming from ignorance and I don't think that I have said one thing in any of my previous posts on this company that is unfair.

If you disagree with anything I have said, please feel free to let me know what and why.

Quote:
bw1450:
I can never understand why anything new is always suspect on the site and subjected to an inquisition.
Then feel free to check out some of the other threads in this forum as to why subsidy publishers are a bad idea for authors.

Yog's Law - money should flow to authors, not from them.

Quote:
bw1450:
Individuals and companies with outstanding backgrounds being slammed with immature and irresponsible posts from posters failing to do even the most basic inquiry.
What utter tosh.

Read the posts. You'll see that Don McGuire came here, was asked perfectly reasonable and straightforward questions and then wussed out on giving replies (including questions on what his experience was, what type of advances he was hoping to pay on 'traditional options' etc).

Quote:
bw1450:
I believe we do a disservice to aspiring writers by continually attacking everything and anything, especially without having knowledge of what we are talking about. Lets keep this site professional by making responsible postings.
Except that we don't attack everything and anything and again, if you read some of the threads here you'd know that.

We're a site for authors and we're about enabling authors to make informed decisions. You, ironically, seem more interested in keeping authors ignorant. I have to wonder why that is.

Quote:
bw1450:
I attended U of A in Arizona and know of these individuals and their previous company, as do most others who were involved in the academic press.
So? They're now running a subsidy press, unless you can tell us why you think that's a good idea, I don't see what contribution you're making.

Quote:
bw1450:
This site is a wonderful resource for writers and will remain so based upon the responsibility of the posters. I believe continual attacks have a negative impact on the site.
You're entitled to your opinion. However the fact that there are many posters here who have managed to avoid subsidy and vanity publishers based on what posters here do - i.e. pointing out problems, risks and issues - suggests to me that your opinion is incorrect.

Quote:
bw1450:
I would love to see some industry professionals taking the time to post on the site. I know we have a few, but very few. I suspect one of the reasons for their lack of posting is the failure of respondents to act maturely and responsibly whenever posts are made.
There are plenty of industry professionals posting here - including in this very thread. Ironically, the biggest problem on the boards is drive-by posters such as yourself who revive previously dead threads and offer no significant information beyond calling us meanies and ignorant and generally kvetch and whine before leaving.

Like I said, if you want to come back to counter any of the specific points made then I'd be interested in seeing it. Otherwise, your comments are noted.

MM
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:15 PM   #25
PuzzK1
New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Wink Brighton Author

I am a new author with Brighton Publishing. My book is currently in Edits. However, the cover has been completed and one critical review has been performed. What I wanted to say is that choosing Brighton has been the best decision I have made as an author. They are accessible and respond to calls and email in a timely fashion. I could not have made a better choice. They gave me a progress list and I can easily see where I am in the process. What attracted me to them to begin with, is that as a new author, their website gave me useful information about publishing in general. I had their contract reviewed and the reviewer thought it was good. So far I am a happy camper. Those Nay-sayers do not know what they are talking about.
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