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StevenJ
11-24-2008, 05:14 PM
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The new & independent company Salvatore Publishing will be accepting fiction and non-fiction submissions from January 1st 2009.

Do you have a novel, a novella, or a nonfiction manuscript ready for potential publication? SP can help - you will receive a thoroughly personal service, including free editing advice from our staff with a view to having your work published by SP. We never charge reading fees and, once published, we will advertise your book on our website - free!

We are writers ourselves, so we're well aware of the trials and tribulations that new authors experience - let us help & guide you on the road to publication and a writing career.

Please send us a brief query letter describing your story and if we feel your material suits Salvatore, we will send you a release form and request a manuscript. You are welcome to mail with enquiries before 1/1/09, but please note that we are only looking for finished work.

In the subject line of your email please type as follows:

Query - Title of Book, Your Name

You can contact us via our website at:

http://www.salvatorepublishing.com/

Or directly by email:

guycousins@btinternet.com for general fiction and short stories.

stevejensen@hotmail.co.uk for literary fiction and horror.



Salvatore Publishing already has three books available online:

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The Horde, Guy Cousins' thriller.

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The Orpheus Tales, an anthology featuring new & promising authors.

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A Writer's Christmas, our latest collection of short fiction in aid of the Great Ormond Street Hospital
& the Starlight Foundation charity. Further details of these books and other releases can be found at our website.

For those authors who specialise in short fiction, SP will be producing further anthlologies during 2009, so please view the Preview page for information.

Thank you for your interest,

Steve

aka eraser
11-24-2008, 07:28 PM
Folks, because a company posts here does NOT mean AW endorses them. You must always practice due diligence.

I feel obliged to note that at first glance this company appears to be a more upfront version of Publish America. It seems they don't charge anything until you have the finished product in your hands.

From their website:

We regret we are unable to pay advances but we do pay 50% on the gross profit of each publication, plus you will receive two free copies of your book.

I'd like a clear definition of "gross profit." Vague terms like this allow too much wiggle room for creative accounting practices.

If you order copies yourself you will be entitled to an author discount, negotiable depending on the quantity of books you order. Salvatore actively encourages its authors to participate in the sales and distribution process and will discount accordingly.

Translation: You won't see your book in a bookstore unless a sympathetic manager responds well to begging. It seems apparent that Salvatore Publishing's sales/profits will depend in large part on author purchases.

If all you're seeking is a few copies of your opus for friends and family, this may be a good choice for you. But I'd recommend looking elsewhere if you aspire to see your book on store shelves.

I'm going to copy this thread over to our Bewares and Background Check people. Please look there for any further information. I'll close the thread here in Writers Wanted.

mscelina
11-24-2008, 07:33 PM
I must admit that I had to chuckle at this:


We never charge reading fees and, once published, we will advertise your book on our website - free!

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 07:39 PM
I've pm'ed Eraser now, seeking some information as to why he's linking Salvatore to the 'legendary' Publish America.

It might be worth bearing in mind that not every small-time publishing venture happens to be a scam.

Please feel free to check SP out - nothing incriminating will be found, and I expect an apology to be forthcoming, and also the removal of Eraser's post.

Thank you for reading :)

aka eraser
11-24-2008, 07:44 PM
I've replied to Steve's PM and believe my choice of the words "more upfront" distanced his company from the toxic aspect of PA. However, the business models appear quite similar.

I hope an explanation serves to soothe Steve's feelings but I don't feel an apology is warranted, nor will I delete my post.

mscelina
11-24-2008, 07:50 PM
It's an understandable position, aka eraser. After taking a look at the website, I've come to the conclusion that the books already available were written by the co-founders. As a matter of fact, of the five books listed, four are by the co-founders and the fifth is an anthology. And without a clear distribution plan in effect, it appears that you are correct and that distribution and store placement would be dependent upon author sales.

Marian Perera
11-24-2008, 07:50 PM
It might be worth bearing in mind that not every small-time publishing venture happens to be a scam.

A publisher can be a very bad choice for serious writers hoping for good sales, without simultaneously being a scam.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 07:55 PM
The majority of the criticism posted here is completely understandable, though invalid, as I've now tried to explain privately to Eraser.

And honestly, considering that AW is so well-known for its association with Writer Beware, does anyone really think a company intent on scamming authors would dare post here?

mscelina
11-24-2008, 07:57 PM
The majority of the criticism posted here is completely understandable, though invalid, as I've now tried to explain privately to Eraser.

And honestly, considering that AW is so well-known for its association with Writer Beware, does anyone really think a company intent on scamming authors would dare post here?

If it's understandable but invalid, why not try explaining it to us here, publicly?

Marian Perera
11-24-2008, 07:58 PM
And honestly, considering that AW is so well-known for its association with Writer Beware, does anyone really think a company intent on scamming authors would dare post here?

You'd be surprised.

aka eraser
11-24-2008, 08:05 PM
Steve, I'd also prefer keeping the discussion public.

Nobody is calling your company a scam. In this POD age, there are probably hundreds (thousands?) of "new" publishing companies founded by disgruntled authors. If you post here looking for clients, then you have to be prepared for public scrutiny. We simply want to ensure that writers know exactly what to expect from their association with any given publishing company.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 08:16 PM
If it's understandable but invalid, why not try explaining it to us here, publicly?

Well, I will try...

The absolute truth is that Salvatore is founded by two newcomers to the publishing business (Guy Cousins and myself) who were tired of receiving praise from publishers who, nevertheless, opted not to publish our work. That's completely fine, particularly in light of the current financial climate, and is their prerogative entirely, but it made us want to help others like ourselves - arguably promising writers who weren't getting a break. Sure, Salvatore is a business too, but our ideals are sound, even if our model can be criticised by more experienced publishers/writers - what many here perceive as greed or slick talk to bedazzle potential authors is in fact, akin to naivety. For example, my co-founder and I were led to believe that 50% gross profit for an author was actually very generous, yet according to some of the comments in this thread, that is not the case; if we find that these criticisms are correct, then obviously we will alter that figure accordingly.

As newcomers, we won't get everything right, as you all have noted in your criticisms, but we are genuine people & in no way are we attempting to swindle anyone. Yes, it could be said that SP is a glorified POD company, but we aim to offer much more than this to authors - at the very least, SP gives a chance for people to get their work published (and this explains why my own work, as well as that of friends from the forums I frequent, is available in Salvatore's anthologies) given time to learn & grow; this thread itself has been an education to me...

I'm aware that AW staff look out for, and stand up for writers, and consider this a wonderful thing, but perhaps it sometimes leads to (understandable) mistakes, as in this case. To reiterate, any investigation of us as a fledgling company & as individuals will lead to, at the very least, a retraction of the ludicrous claim that we are linked to Publish America, the company which is (allegedly) a byword for swindle in this industry.

Once again, please feel free to check up on us; I actually welcome this, because therein lies our vindication. As I mentioned, criticism of particular aspects of our business model could possibly be valid, because we are newcomers - other criticisms are either totally false, wide of the mark, or based on the exploits of others with whom we have nothing to do with.

I do understand that this business is, unfortunately, full of scam artists, and I applaud AW for fighting in the best interests of writers; but this time, a mistake has been made - we may be naive, we may make errors, but our ethos is sound & our track record perfect.

eqb
11-24-2008, 08:18 PM
Hi, Steve,

Welcome to AW. I have a couple questions about your company.

Does your contract specify whether you pay royalties on the cover price, or if not the cover price, exactly how the net price is calculated?

Also, I see from your website that you have plans to use offset printing for larger print runs. That's good to hear. Beyond that, however, what kind of distribution do you have set up?

And about the anthologies. To be honest, it bothers me that you don't offer any payment for those stories. Unless you do a great job getting those anthos to readers, the "exposure" won't do an author much good. (And if you do reach a lot of readers, it's only fair to share your profit with the people who provided the stories.)

Torin
11-24-2008, 08:25 PM
The links to the books redirect to Lulu.com, which means they're using Lulu for printing. In that case, why not just use Lulu without going through Salvatore Publishing?

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 08:41 PM
Hi, Steve,

Welcome to AW. I have a couple questions about your company.

Does your contract specify whether you pay royalties on the cover price, or if not the cover price, exactly how the net price is calculated?

Also, I see from your website that you have plans to use offset printing for larger print runs. That's good to hear. Beyond that, however, what kind of distribution do you have set up?

And about the anthologies. To be honest, it bothers me that you don't offer any payment for those stories. Unless you do a great job getting those anthos to readers, the "exposure" won't do an author much good. (And if you do reach a lot of readers, it's only fair to share your profit with the people who provided the stories.)

Hi Beth, and thank you for the polite tone of your post :)

I have to upfront about this - I am not, as readers here may have guessed, the brains behind Salvatore Publishing, :D certainly not the business brain anyway, and so I'm attempting to address criticisms (valid or otherwise) as best I can. In this instance, it was my chosen job to post at various forums (here, AuthorsDen etc) to publicise SP's launch (and that of our website & Christmas anthology). Therefore, it isn't really possible for me to discuss the first point you made in-depth, simply because that aspect isn't my 'area'.
I will, however, encourage Guy to sign up here, and doubtless he will clarify matters. I'm sorry I'm not able to explain this myself as, despite my involvement in this thread, I don't deal with contractual matters.

Yeah, the 'non-payment for short stories' thing is under review. I do appreciate people's concerns with this. When we started, a few months ago, it was a thrill for us & others we knew to see our names (and work) in print. This was enough reward for us, plus, we gave out free copies of our first anthology to all the contributors. Our second anthology is Christmas-themed & the profits made will be donated to two children's charities; my co-founder has stated publicly that records/receipts of said donations will be available to view online.

The first collection was basically published for these reasons:

1. To get the company started.
2. To allow unpublished authors (myself included) to be published.
3. To use the funds raised for such purposes as: purchasing ISBN numbers etc - basically, any profit made was used to reinvest in SP - this is not greed, it is an attempt to help SP grow, which will eventually benefit potential authors.

The second collection was basically published for the reason stated above - the excellent cause - plus of course, it helped to publicise SP - that is our reward for the work.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 08:44 PM
The links to the books redirect to Lulu.com, which means they're using Lulu for printing. In that case, why not just use Lulu without going through Salvatore Publishing?

Once again, this is valid criticism so I'll address this:

The anthologies, and the first novel we published are available through Lulu & other online sellers such as WH Smith, Waterstones etc. But, as Beth mentioned in her post, we plan to print & publish under our own imprint in 2009.

Momento Mori
11-24-2008, 08:56 PM
Hi, Steve, I just had a couple of questions on points arising from the website:

Firstly, has a company been incorporated for Salvatore Publishing or does it exist as a partnership structure? Please don't take this the wrong way, but the reason for the query is because given the current economic climate, the corporate structure can affect the position in the (hopefully very unlikely) event of insolvency.

Secondly, the website states:


Please send us a brief query letter describing your story and if we feel your material suits Salvatore we will send you a release form and request a manuscript.

Why are authors required to sign a release form before submitting their manuscript? What are they being asked to release?

MM

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 09:20 PM
Hi, Steve, I just had a couple of questions on points arising from the website:

Firstly, has a company been incorporated for Salvatore Publishing or does it exist as a partnership structure? Please don't take this the wrong way, but the reason for the query is because given the current economic climate, the corporate structure can affect the position in the (hopefully very unlikely) event of insolvency.

Secondly, the website states:



Why are authors required to sign a release form before submitting their manuscript? What are they being asked to release?

MM

Hi MM :)

My co-founder will sign up here this evening, and respond in-depth to the more technical questions people ask. I apologise for my lack of knowledge about certain aspects of business, but then, this is not my area of expertise; obviously, if I could respond to the more technical questions, then I would - I'm not hiding anything here, and I'll continue to be honest when I can't answer some questions. As I stated, hopefully Guy Cousins will be along tonight to deal with these matters.

As far as I'm aware, the release form is basically giving us permission to view the manuscript. One point I should make clear is this: an author who publishes with SP retains the rights to their work - we don't own it, they do.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 09:28 PM
One more thing I'd like to ask publicly: when it is found that SP has no connection whatsoever to outfits like Publish America, will an apology be made on this thread? While I completely understand that moderators & admins might have a 'shoot first, ask questions later' approach, (as there are so many questionable publishing companies around), the fact remains that this false accusation will make people suspicious of Salvatore, and link our name with PA; this is grossly unfair...

I'm not being argumentative here, and as I wrote, I do understand that often it's better to err on the side of caution (on behalf of writers everywhere), but in this case a mistake has been made, and this will adversely affect SP. So please, if the AW administration can be swift enough to act against us, at least act on our behalf just as swiftly when the truth of the matter is revealed.

Thank you.

Carmy
11-24-2008, 09:36 PM
Hi, Steve, and welcome.

As you can see, we writers are a suspicious lot. Not surprising when we encounter scams every day. I'm sure I'm not the only one who looks forward to hearing what Mr. Cousins has to say and many of us will do so with an open mind.

In the meantime . . . . Thank you for answering our questions so honestly. If you were out to scam us, you wouldn't have bothered but simply gone away and reopened your publishing site under another name. (We've experienced many scammers on this site, agents and publishers.)

Somewhere on the thread, a member asked why we shouldn't publish directly through Lulu rather than going through Salvatore. Well, for one thing, formatting for Lulu is something I'd rather leave to someone else.

I admire your spirit and hope your venture is successful.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 09:49 PM
Thank you for your kind and open-minded reply, Carmy :)

I think we're guilty of being naive, and though it's a shame that we should effectively be accused of scamming our fellow writers, I understand why people should jump to conclusions. The truth is, we're newcomers, with all the error-strewn ways that the term suggests. We're not claiming to present the moon & stars to new writers, merely offering a hassle-free way of publishing their work. The learning curve is steep and we will make mistakes, that's for sure. But our intentions are good.

And yes, I realise that the above makes us out to be misunderstood saints, :D but the fact of the matter is that we're trying to gradually build up a company which is more approachable than many other established ones - we're not 'disgruntled writers', we're optimistic, optimistic that people will actually enjoy working with us; any growth we experience will only help new writers to have opportunities. That was always our aim: to beat an easier path for people who want to be published..without having to wait months n' months only to receive (perhaps) a bland, anonymous rejection slip...

It's a pity this thread wasn't just deleted by the mods, as it's led to improper accusations; on the other hand, I'm glad I've had the chance to explain a few things publicly. :)

Torin
11-24-2008, 09:49 PM
Formatting for Lulu is a matter of setting your page size on your word processing software to whatever size book you've chosen and saving the document. I used Lulu to print a copy of my NaNo novel a couple of years ago when Lulu offered a free copy to anyone who had completed NaNo. It was insanely easy and didn't take that much time. Mind you, things might have changed in the past few years; I haven't used them since then, but still, I'd rather spend the few minutes to format my doc and keep 100% of all profits, than to get 50% of the gross profit (whatever that might work out to be). Just saying. Your mileage may vary.

And as for an apology being due, I didn't see anywhere that SP was accused of being affiliated with PA, just an observation that its method of operation is not unlike PA's: no money upfront, discounts for buying your own books, authors being asked to do their own marketing and so on. IMO, an apology wouldn't be due until happy authors can come forward and say they had a great experience with SP, royalties paid on time and all that good stuff. Here's to success with your venture.

cdoctor13
11-24-2008, 09:51 PM
I'd advise any would be writers to wait a year and see where this company is at before submitting.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 09:59 PM
Hi Torin :)

Lulu formatting can be time-consuming and finicky; this is just one reason why we're striving to do the printing ourselves next year.

As for the association between PA & Salvatore; the very fact that aspects of the two companies are (supposedly) comparable, in the view of an AW moderator, and that this supposed comparison was made public in this thread is enough reason to expect an apology of sorts once the truth of the matter is revealed. By it's very nature, a stated association or comparison like that can only be injurious to the innocent party, however explicitly or implictly it is stated & whether the intent was malicious or otherwise (I don't think it was malicious, by the way).

If, when this matter is clarified, I receive an apology, then all credit to AW.
Otherwise, it's as ludicrous as someone comparing Hitler to Obama (which happens a lot...) and as unfair.

Torin
11-24-2008, 10:00 PM
I'd advise any would be writers to wait a year and see where this company is at before submitting.

But SOMEONE has to submit so we can see where they are in a year. :) I probably won't be doing so, myself, but I'd be interested to see how well they do.

I admit to being mildly concerned by this:
It's a pity this thread wasn't just deleted by the mods, as it's led to improper accusations; on the other hand, I'm glad I've had the chance to explain a few things publicly.

It doesn't sit well with me. I haven't read any "improper accusations", just questions and observations. So far, the answers have been polite, but there is an increasing tone of frustration, if not paranoia, and the suggestion that the thread should have been deleted altogether smacks of censorship, which is not really called for in this venue. And I don't mean to make SteveS more paranoid. We're not out to get you; we're just clarifying information. And again, I wish you all success in this venture. Small business has to start somewhere, and using Lulu as a printer isn't a bad idea: they do put out a decent product at a reasonable price.

mscelina
11-24-2008, 10:07 PM
This thread doesn't need to be deleted. At the moment, it is an open discussion concerning a publishing company who chose to solicit submissions on the AW board. aka eraser did not accuse anyone of being affiliated with PA; it's just that the business models are similar and he did say that Salvatore was more upfront with their practices.

There have been no accusations. This is a discussion.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 10:11 PM
And I don't mean to make SteveS more paranoid.

Arggh, too late! :D:D

It's true that I'm a bit frustrated because I haven't been able to answer some questions as well as I might have.

To explain why I hinted that the thread could have been deleted: I meant that it could have been deleted at the very start - as soon as Eraser had his doubts about Salvatore. Then he could have questioned me by pm and made his own enquiries & made an informed decision rather than one which smacked of jumping the gun.

But anyway, as I mentioned earlier, it's good that I had a chance to 'talk' directly with concerned writers. I do feel wronged, for sure, as anyone would when a venture close to their heart has been slighted.

mscelina
11-24-2008, 10:13 PM
Questioning the company's practices and asking for clarification isn't slighting it.

Carmy
11-24-2008, 10:18 PM
"I feel obliged to note that at first glance this company appears to be a more upfront version of Publish America."

I don't want to get in the middle of anything but, rightly or wrongly, the above quote is damning. While I appreciate that AKA was issuing a warning to members, I feel that PA should not have been mentioned by name.

Just in case anyone is wondering -- no, I don't know a darned thing more about Salvatore Publishing than the rest of you, but it seems many of us are too eager to jump on the damning bandwagon.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 10:21 PM
Questioning the company's practices and asking for clarification isn't slighting it.

Yes, you're completely right, and I've tried to answer those questions as best I can. Honestly, if no one can see why I should be offended, please check Eraser's first post in this thread; while polite enough, the comparison is made & that is enough to be damaging.

Here's an example: If you post a story here, and I give the following critique:
'This is a lot like JK Rowling's second book...', I suspect that you would feel I'm implying you're a plagiarist; not nice, is it, when you've done nothing wrong?

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 10:41 PM
Oh, and at the risk of boring you all further... :D

*I've had no reply to my recent pm from Eraser.

*There's been no evidence forthcoming that SP or the people behind it are fraudulent in any way.

*The initial thread, in 'Writers Wanted' was locked, even though Eraser's reply to my original post was, shall we say, hastily-conceived. There was no link provided to this thread, in which I've been able to defend myself a little.

I'm not declaring war on Eraser, :D as thus far his pm's have been very civil, but the lack of response to my defence of SP speaks for itself.

Marian Perera
11-24-2008, 10:41 PM
Here's an example: If you post a story here, and I give the following critique:
'This is a lot like JK Rowling's second book...', I suspect that you would feel I'm implying you're a plagiarist; not nice, is it, when you've done nothing wrong?

If I write a book about a misunderstood teenager finding out he has magic and going to a magic school, that would be unoriginal. However, it would only become plagiarism if I copied J. K. Rowling's work. You can't plagiarize an idea. My story could have been inspired by Rowling, for instance, or could have been written as a deliberate homage to her work. I've heard that The Sword of Shannara is a lot like The Lord of the Rings; doesn't mean Terry Brooks is a plagiarist.

A story can be unoriginal and derivative without being outright plagiarism.

mscelina
11-24-2008, 10:42 PM
*sigh*

Steve, the unfortunate problem that I'm having with this discussion is that I'm getting a 'the lady doth protest too much' feeling here. You have a similar business model to PA. So do lots of other small publishers. Although your site does mention that Salvatore is a POD company, that information is not clear on your homepage. The distribution model touted on your submissions page is based around author orders, which you offer substantial discounts for. What you have taken as some sort of tarring with the same brush accusation is actually a fairly clear summation of what information can be gathered from the information on your publishing company's website.

*shrug*

Perhaps this needs to be addressed on your end and clarified upon your website. These boards stand as a service to the writers, not the publishers. These threads are intended for open and fair discussion about publishers no matter who they might be. Instead of being convinced that someone is out to get you, you could serve your cause and our purposes better if you endeavored to show us how signing with your company would be a benefit to a writer who is seeking nothing more than a POD run for their work.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 10:45 PM
If I write a book about a misunderstood teenager finding out he has magic and going to a magic school, that would be unoriginal. However, it would only become plagiarism if I copied J. K. Rowling's work. You can't plagiarize an idea. My story could have been inspired by Rowling, for instance, or could have been written as a deliberate homage to her work. I've heard that The Sword of Shannara is a lot like The Lord of the Rings; doesn't mean Terry Brooks is a plagiarist.

A story can be unoriginal and derivative without being outright plagiarism.

Very true. But the point I was trying to make with my (admittedly poor) analogy is this: the merest suggestion of wrong-doing is often enough to cast major doubt on an individual or an organisation; no matter that the suggestion/comparison is erronoeus, the damage is done.

aka eraser
11-24-2008, 10:49 PM
The fact is, PA's business model works. This has not escaped other self/vanity/subsidy/co/publishers who have borrowed aspects of it. Most of the disdain with which PA is regarded is because it insists on calling itself a car when, upon closer inspection, it is seen to be a tricked-out bicycle.

My comparison, as I tried to make clear, was with the business model. I was not trying to imply that your company is a PA clone in all respects. Hence my use of the term "upfront," indicating honest intent.

Yours appears to be a well-meaning start-up. But good intentions shouldn't preclude scrutiny.

Marian Perera
11-24-2008, 10:54 PM
Very true. But the point I was trying to make with my (admittedly poor) analogy is this: the merest suggestion of wrong-doing is often enough to cast major doubt on an individual or an organisation; no matter that the suggestion/comparison is erronoeus, the damage is done.

Mentioning the similarities between a new story and J. K. Rowling's second book does not equal "cast major doubt" on the author of the story. People don't toss the plagiarism accusation around lightly here, and a few similarities are nowhere near enough to "damage" anyone, especially a new author. Many people start out writing derivative stuff. In fact, knowing what's original and what isn't may help the author realize that there is a problem in the story and that his or her work can be improved.

On the other hand, saying nothing for fear of the author's feelings being hurt, or the author turning the merest [I]mention of similarities into an accusation of plagiarism, is unlikely to help anyone, including the author.

The analogy applies to publishers as well.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 10:56 PM
I'm protesting so much because PA is utterly notorious, as you would surely know, as a veteran of this forum. Is it really any wonder that I'm upset about that comparison? An injustice has been done here, and the least one would expect is a continuation of dialogue with the person responsible for casting doubt on SP.

I fully understand that those doubters have good reason to be suspicious, given the state of the industry & their own experiences, perhaps; I accept that SP may seem very naive (which may be true) or very wise (which is a false perception prejudiced by the exploits of the real scammers out there); all those perceptions I have no argument with...I do feel, however, that it is plain wrong to compare SP to a known transgressor without any evidence bar opinions.

Sheryl Nantus
11-24-2008, 10:59 PM
Mentioning the similarities between a new story and J. K. Rowling's second book does not equal "cast major doubt" on the author of the story. People don't toss the plagiarism accusation around lightly here, and a few similarities are nowhere near enough to "damage" anyone, especially a new author. Many people start out writing derivative stuff. In fact, knowing what's original and what isn't may help the author realize that there is a problem in the story and that his or her work can be improved.

On the other hand, saying nothing for fear of the author's feelings being hurt, or the author turning the merest [I]mention of similarities into an accusation of plagiarism, is unlikely to help anyone, including the author.

The analogy applies to publishers as well.

I should point out that the last time a small press was compared to PA they came here and were violently denying it in many posts. Eventually people did back off the comparision.

It's a thread-burner, that's for sure!

:D

swvaughn
11-24-2008, 10:59 PM
You have a similar business model to PA. So do lots of other small publishers.

Been following this thread all morning . . . and I kinda have to admit that I'm feeling a little like Carmy upthread. Not wanting to step on any toes, or call anyone out (mscelina, my quoting you isn't directing anything your way - it's just that particular bit sums up a point I'd like to attempt to make).

I think Steve is objecting not to being scrutinized as a new publishing company, but to being lumped in from the get-go with PublishAmerica - who is, as explained by this very forum, Evil Evil Evil. Steve doesn't want to be viewed as Evil. Especially when lots of other publishers employ a similar business model to PA, and are not called out on this board or elsewhere as being like PA.

Yes, it's important that authors are made aware of what they're getting into when they approach any publisher. And yes, this particular business model isn't the best choice for some writers. But honestly - I visited the Salvatore site, and I don't see anything resembling the fervor and outright lies plastered all over PA's site. Salvatore isn't promising to crap on your dreams and pretend they're giving you diamond bracelets, like PA does.

Isn't that why we hate PA? It's fine to be practical regarding Salvatore's approach - and like aka said, it is quite clear on their website what they will and will not do for you. So that means, in the eyes of most writers who visit this forum looking for the truth about publishers, Salvatore is NOT like PA.

I hope this makes sense. Oh - and also, like Carmy, I've got nothing to do with Salvatore. I've only just heard of them today.

mscelina
11-24-2008, 10:59 PM
Steve, unfortunately you are the only person who thinks Salvatore has been compared to PA. I certainly don't. At first glance, SP doesn't appear to be anything like PA.

You must have missed a few posts as well before you posted your last comment.

Marian Perera
11-24-2008, 11:00 PM
I don't think it's just opinions. If someone says "PA operates in X, Y and Z ways, and Salvatore Publishing also operates in X, Y and Z ways", that seems to go beyond mere opinion to me.

And of course, you're free to show how your company is different from the notorious PA.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 11:06 PM
Well, by now I'm sure you're all bored to death with my spirited, but nonetheless tedious defence :D I apologise to all those who feel that I'm harping on, or labouring over pedantic matters of defintion and terminology.

Susan Gable
11-24-2008, 11:16 PM
As far as I'm aware, the release form is basically giving us permission to view the manuscript. .

I've never had to sign a release form to allow publishers to look at my manuscripts. :Shrug:

And Steve, the posts didn't say you have any connection with PA - it was simply pointed out that you seem to have a similar business model in place. As someone else has pointed out, PA's business model WORKS - for them. Not so much for the authors. No one is saying you are connected to PA at all. They're simply saying, hmmmm...another new publisher who's got some questions to answer.

Getting a book printed is not even half the battle. We can all do that ourselves through Lulu. So, you must convince writers of why they will be better off to go with your company. What can you offer them that Lulu can't? How can you get their books into the hands of readers?

Will your website be your only method of distribution? Distribution channels are the most important thing for a publisher. Who do you see as the target market for your books, and how will you reach those readers? How will you draw readers in to your website? (It's not just a case of slapping a website up, announcing BOOKS FOR SALE!, and having readers storm the gates, eager to buy the books.)

Who will be doing your editing? How will you assure readers of the quality of your product? What are your plans for cover art? Will you create a sales catalog? What are your anticipated price points for books?

It might also be fair (though admittedly stinging for you - sorry!) to point out that two people who have never had any real experience with the "traditional" publishing world other than promising rejections might not know a whole lot about how the publishing system actually works. That's not me being bitchy to you, I'm just pointing out a very obvious fact.

Shoot, even though I *do* have experience with publishing from an author's POV, I know that I DON'T KNOW a lot about how the business actually works.

We ask these questions because we're not sure that you've asked them of yourself, although they are questions that should be covered in a business plan.

Believe me, we'd all be in favor of new, good, small publishers succeeding.

And so, I wish you the best of luck! :banana:

Susan G.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 11:25 PM
The fact is, PA's business model works. This has not escaped other self/vanity/subsidy/co/publishers who have borrowed aspects of it. Most of the disdain with which PA is regarded is because it insists on calling itself a car when, upon closer inspection, it is seen to be a tricked-out bicycle.

My comparison, as I tried to make clear, was with the business model. I was not trying to imply that your company is a PA clone in all respects. Hence my use of the term "upfront," indicating honest intent.

Yours appears to be a well-meaning start-up. But good intentions shouldn't preclude scrutiny.

Thank you that reply, which I hadn't noticed because I was so busy writing long-winded posts ;):)

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 11:48 PM
Hi Susan, and thank your for your fair-minded and intelligent post :)
You've a million questions and, as I'm sure none of us wants to be on this thread all night, :D I'll try my best to be brief:

We're going to be hiring professional proof-readers and editors in 2009.

We already have staff with business (sales) experience.

The 'release form' is something we thought was standard practice for small, and large publishers; perhaps we're wrong? Both Guy & I have had to sign release forms in the recent past, when we've submitted to publishers...

Regarding cover art, we have a staff artist, Louise Tolentino. Here's a sample of her work:

http://salvatorepublishing.com/test/images/bookCovers/theHorde/theHordeFront.png

All in all, we're a new company, specifically aimed at new writers, and we'll learn as we go along, I'll be straight about that. Today has certainly taught me enough, lol.

Everyone has a right to question us, and I've tried to answer those questions as well as I can. But the very fact that Salvatore Publishing's name is now featured in a thread on this particular forum will put some people off, and that is unfair. Please understand that I'm not asking for the thread's deletion, I just feel that people will enter this 'Beware' forum, see the name 'Salvatore Publishing' and think: 'scam'. It's sad, but I'm sure others think that way when they see a company name featured on this board. That is both wrong and damaging, and while I accept SP's faults (which will be addressed), it's a terrible shame that a new company should be treated like this.

jennontheisland
11-24-2008, 11:53 PM
But the very fact that Salvatore Publishing's name is in now featured in a thread on this particular forum will put some people off, and that is unfair. Please understand that I'm not asking for the thread's deletion, I just feel that people will enter this 'Beware' forum, see the name 'Salvatore Publishing' and think: 'scam'.

Not true, lots of well-known and legit publishers are in the B&BC forum. Some are there mostly to track response times though.

StevenJ
11-24-2008, 11:56 PM
Not true, lots of well-known and legit publishers are in the B&BC forum. Some are there mostly to track response times though.

I respect your opinion, but I'm sure that others would agree with me on the point I made above.

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 12:15 AM
I just feel that people will enter this 'Beware' forum, see the name 'Salvatore Publishing' and think: 'scam'.

This forum is not called solely "Beware".

It is called "Bewares and Background Check". And that's exactly what's being done with your company: a background check.

I don't see any evidence that anyone who enters this forum thinks "Scam" the moment they see any new company or agent listed here. And I think that if you wish to correct any perceived impression to this effect, it would be more productive to address people's questions and concerns than to keep going on about how "wrong and damaging" this "injustice" and "terrible shame" is to you.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 12:23 AM
Yes, a background check is being made now, after a thread has been locked before I could respond to the moderator's comments. Going by the example of this thread, I'm sure that fair-minded people would agree that all the questions I've been posed could and would have been answered by me in the original thread on 'Writers Wanted', given the chance...which I wasn't. Sure, I've had my chance now, and have answered many questions to the best of my ability. But I should never have been put in the position of defending myself & SP after such a bad, misjudged and ill-informed beginning.

aka eraser
11-25-2008, 12:27 AM
Steve, I explained to you in my reply to your PM that extended dialogues are frowned upon in that forum which is why I closed that thread and ported it over here.

You aren't helping your cause by constantly playing the victim card.

By the way, I added a link from there to here.

Cyia
11-25-2008, 12:27 AM
There's a second component to the "Beware" of this forum, and that's "Background check". If you're a new company then the BC portion becomes espeically important.

There are TONS of threads here for totally legit entities. I check this forum out to find out which agents people have gotten responses from and which ones they've been dodged by, or which ones turned out to be frauds. Established companies are discussed here as well as upstarts. The presence of a publisher or agency here isn't a denouncement, it's a topic.

When you publicly go on a writer's board that has the reputation of looking out for the writers' interests and advertise a new company, you have to expect scrutiny and questions. If you have answers YAY you.

So far you seem to have done what you can to answer with the information available to you - though (and I hope you don't take this the wrong way) maybe you shouldn't be the one putting feelers out if you don't have the pertinent information on the business side. Good intentions are a great start, but they dont equate to actual statistics.

The automatic gut check response to criticism isn't going to help your position, neither is skewing that crit. further than it went. I know this company is yours and you're protective, but you have to understand that no one is rooting for you to fail. You're going to have criticisms in this business (starting the second you send out the first rejection notice if not sooner) and dealing with simple questions isn't the hardest form you'll face.

No one's rooting for you to fail here (I think it needed repeating); quite the opposite. I hope your business takes off for you and anyone who signs with you, but it's best to get those bumps ironed out now.

CaoPaux
11-25-2008, 12:33 AM
One point I should make clear is this: an author who publishes with SP retains the rights to their work - we don't own it, they do.If you don't own any rights to a work, you have no right to publish it. What did you mean to say?

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 12:33 AM
Yes, a background check is being made now

When would you have wanted us to make one?


Going by the example of this thread, I'm sure that fair-minded people would agree that all the questions I've been posed could and would have been answered by me in the original thread on 'Writers Wanted', given the chance...which I wasn't.

All threads discussing new (and established) publishers either begin or end up in this forum. Why should your company be different?

Atani
11-25-2008, 12:36 AM
I certainly would not be concerned about a publisher or agent just because their name is listed in a thread here. Most of the time a thread is started with just a question: "have you guys heard about so and so..." for example.

I come here to research publishers & agents to see what experiences people have had with them, and many of the results are positive. People are going to read the thread to determine if a particular publisher/agent is a scam or if they are just not right for them.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 12:36 AM
Steve, I explained to you in my reply to your PM that extended dialogues are frowned upon in that forum which is why I closed that thread and ported it over here.

You aren't helping your cause by constantly playing the victim card.

Well, I don't know what else I can do, Eraser - if I leave the thread, then the assumption will doubtless be 'Well, he was a scam artist after all...'; and I continue to defend myself & SP (when I feel we've been wronged), then apparently people think that I'm protesting too much & have something to hide. I cannot win whatever I do, it seems...

Anyone reading this thread can see that I've tried to answer all the questions that have been asked, even though some maintain that I haven't & am solely 'playing the victim card'. And seeing as there's been no evidence offered to prove that SP's personnel or myself are disreputable people, then it's obvious that I am going to cry 'foul' until someone actually listens and/or admits that there is no evidence at all.

SP should have been given the benefit of the doubt due to any company with no suspicious antecedents. It beggars belief that we should be treated this way and yet told to be quiet when I protest.

Check the thread, people: All questions that I could answer, I've done so; all justified faults laid at SP's door have been admitted; I would like some fairness in return.

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 12:44 AM
Well, I don't know what else I can do, Eraser - if I leave the thread, then the assumption will doubtless be 'Well, he was a scam artist after all...';

First you claim that the mention of PA means people will believe your company is a scam. Then you claim that a SP thread being in this forum means people will believe your company is a scam. Finally, if you leave this thread, people will believe your company is a scam.

Believe me when I say that you'd need to do a little more than this to achieve scam status.


SP should have been given the benefit of the doubt due to any company with no suspicious antecedents.

And what does "benefit of the doubt" mean?

Does it mean that SP should not have a thread in the Bewares and Background Check forum?


It beggars belief that we should be treated this way and yet told to be quiet when I protest.

You're being treated the same way a lot of startup POD publishers without distribution or prior experience in the industry are treated.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 12:56 AM
Well, in this case, benefit of the doubt means that the initial thread should not have been locked, should not have been moved when all questions could have been answered politely by me in the original thread, and most importantly, the mention of PA should never have been considered, given that most writers who come here know very well what such a comparison implies.

God knows, I'm not asking for special treatment for SP at all, and it amazes me that so few can see that this has been handled incorrectly. Would everyone prefer it if I just lost my temper, swore at all & sundry and got banned? I have participated in this thread for nigh on seven hours, been generally polite to all & endeavoured to answer questions. Yet apparently even this behaviour is wrong, in the view of some people.

Cyia
11-25-2008, 01:01 AM
Well, in this case, benefit of the doubt means that the initial thread should not have been locked, should not have been moved when all questions could have been answered politely by me in the original thread, and most importantly, the mention of PA should never have been considered, given that most writers who come here know very well what such a comparison implies.

God knows, I'm not asking for special treatment for SP at all, and it amazes me that so few can see that this has been handled incorrectly. Would everyone prefer it if I just lost my temper, swore at all & sundry and got banned? I have participated in this thread for nigh on seven hours, been generally polite to all & endeavoured to answer questions. Yet apparently even this behaviour is wrong, in the view of some people.


Actually from what I've seen my few days here, that WOULD be special treatment. Leaving the original thread (which admittedly I thought originated in this forum) open without making the company available for discussion would have been an implication that the site endorsed the company sight unseen.

They open new companies to discussion so that anyone with valid questions or information can post, and this is the correct forum for questions and information.

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 01:06 AM
Well, in this case, benefit of the doubt means that the initial thread should not have been locked, should not have been moved when all questions could have been answered politely by me in the original thread

Why shouldn't it have been moved? As I said before, threads discussing new (and established) publishers either begin or end up in this forum. Why should your company be different?


and most importantly, the mention of PA should never have been considered, given that most writers who come here know very well what such a comparison implies.

Would it imply that SP is a POD press with no advance and no distribution, which will expect authors to do the bulk of the marketing and sales and will give them two free copies of their books?


Would everyone prefer it if I just lost my temper, swore at all & sundry and got banned?

I really hope that you don't get banned. I think it's very informative for writers to see how the representatives of publishers conduct themselves. Your posts on this thread have been most instructive and will help writers decide whether your company will treat them professionally.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 01:11 AM
Actually from what I've seen my few days here, that WOULD be special treatment. Leaving the original thread (which admittedly I thought originated in this forum) open without making the company available for discussion would have been an implication that the site endorsed the company sight unseen.

They open new companies to discussion so that anyone with valid questions or information can post, and this is the correct forum for questions and information.

So the moderator's behaviour was correct, in your opinion? Don't misunderstand me, I've no wish to argue with you (or indeed, anyone else here) but I fail to see how the mod's behaviour was objective; is it the norm for unknown companies to have threads locked, and comparisons made with the infamous PA's methodology?

I appreciate that the publishing business is beset by rip-off merchants, but if the overall mindset here is 'judge first, weigh evidence later' then I'm obviously wasting my time speaking up for SP. Enjoy the thread, all, thank you to those who have supported me today. I'll be back to refute any evidence which claims to show any wrong-doing whatsoever...by that I mean, I won't be back, because there is no evidence.

Scrutinisation is one thing, and is completely fair. Justifiable criticism is also fair, even welcomed. But I've seen far too little of either today.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 01:18 AM
I've now written to Eraser to express my regret for what has happened today.
Throughout our exchanges he was polite and helpful, and I've no wish for this to seem like a 'forum war'.

I'm sorry that I had to disgree with many of you who took part in the thread, but obviously, I felt frustrated and rather bemused.

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 01:18 AM
So the moderator's behaviour was correct, in your opinion? Don't misunderstand me, I've no wish to argue with you (or indeed, anyone else here) but I fail to see how the mod's behaviour was objective;

You continually fail to answer the question of why, when threads discussing publishers are kept in this forum, SP should receive different treatment.

If anyone's behavior is not objective, it's yours.


I appreciate that the publishing business is beset by rip-off merchants

Oh, it's not just rip-off merchants, Steve. There are too many amateur publishers who mean well but who have no experience with the industry and no idea how to distribute or sell books.


I'll be back to refute any evidence which claims to show any wrong-doing whatsoever...by that I mean, I won't be back, because there is no evidence.

There's quite a bit of evidence for gormlessness. But if you're leaving, best of luck with your company.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 01:20 AM
There's quite a bit of evidence for gormlessness.

I have to say, that comment made me laugh a great deal - thanks, because it's been a stressful day :D

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 01:23 AM
Your posts have made me laugh more than once today, Steve. Just returning the favor.

Unimportant
11-25-2008, 02:23 AM
SteveS:
Authors automatically come here to the Background Check thread if they're seeking any info -- turnaround times, submission requirements, royalty rates, reputation, genre preferences -- on a particular publisher. Therefore, discussions of specific publishers get moved to this thread if they are started elsewhere. This is to make life easier for the authors for whom this board exists to serve.

Every publisher gets discussed here: yours, Tor, Random House, Alyson, Ellora's Cave, Mundania. It's not an indictment.

The experts who kindly donate their time here bring up the issues that newbies might not know to ask about. Every publisher gets vetted for the same aspects: what experience does the press's staff have in editing, etc? What kind of distribution (and thus sales) do they have in place? How long have they been in business? What is the quality of the books they publish? How open and honest are they about their business model and about what authors can realistically expect with them? What would the pros and cons be of an author going with this publisher?

There are no right or wrong answers to those questions. No publisher is perfect. No publisher is right for every author.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 02:24 AM
Thank you for that clarification, Unimportant :)

And also, thanks to Eraser for providing a link from the locked thread to this one :)

Cyia
11-25-2008, 02:30 AM
So the moderator's behaviour was correct, in your opinion? Don't misunderstand me, I've no wish to argue with you (or indeed, anyone else here) but I fail to see how the mod's behaviour was objective; is it the norm for unknown companies to have threads locked, and comparisons made with the infamous PA's methodology?



When the mod in question posts saying that the discussion you wanted isn't usually carried out in the forum in which you originally posted, then yes. It's correct. It sounds like he had to lock the thread so that it wouldn't turn into a discussion. B&BC is the forum for discussion

Sheryl Nantus
11-25-2008, 02:32 AM
SteveS:
Authors automatically come here to the Background Check thread if they're seeking any info -- turnaround times, submission requirements, royalty rates, reputation, genre preferences -- on a particular publisher. Therefore, discussions of specific publishers get moved to this thread if they are started elsewhere. This is to make life easier for the authors for whom this board exists to serve.

Every publisher gets discussed here: yours, Tor, Random House, Alyson, Ellora's Cave, Mundania. It's not an indictment.

The experts who kindly donate their time here bring up the issues that newbies might not know to ask about. Every publisher gets vetted for the same aspects: what experience does the press's staff have in editing, etc? What kind of distribution (and thus sales) do they have in place? How long have they been in business? What is the quality of the books they publish? How open and honest are they about their business model and about what authors can realistically expect with them? What would the pros and cons be of an author going with this publisher?

There are no right or wrong answers to those questions. No publisher is perfect. No publisher is right for every author.

I'd also like to add that the WAY the publisher reacts when asked these questions is very important as well. If the publisher huffs and puffs and begins to rant about the conspiracy of the big houses to keep the little guy down or about how WB is "obviously" out to get small presses or that daring to ask questions is something a writer just shouldn't do - that says a lot about that publisher and how they will deal with their authors.

For example; many small publishers duck around the distribution question by saying either here and/or on their website that they're "distributed by Ingram's and Baker & Taylor". Well, it takes only a few minutes HERE to find out that they're not technically distributors in the sense of helping get your book INTO the stores; they're just warehousers. But many author mills will attempt to point to this as a distraction from the fact that they will depend on the author to buy and resell copies and get righteously upset if they're questioned on this point in a public forum like this one where they can't just walk away. Or they can and delete all their posts or play the conspiracy game; how they respond says a LOT about the publisher.

:D

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 02:35 AM
how they respond says a LOT about the publisher.

Damn, in that case, everyone now thinks that I'm nuts as well as naive :D
Hopefully they won't think I'm a criminal though :D

Cyia
11-25-2008, 02:49 AM
Not nuts, just inexperienced - like you said - and eager to get your company off the ground. Think of the questions like weights keeping you from flying all the way up in the clouds.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 02:51 AM
Not nuts, just inexperienced - like you said - and eager to get your company off the ground. Think of the questions like weights keeping you from flying all the way up in the clouds.

Thanks :)

I think I need to learn to walk before I consider flying though :D

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 03:03 AM
Well, my partner has asked me to post the following, in order to (hopefully) clear a few things up. I welcome any questions & comments you may have, and I'll respond to them tomorrow. 'Night, all :)
--------------------------------------------

My honest opinion, is that most authors are rightly wary of the shark-infested waters of publishing. Luckily, on our home forum (MWC) everyone knows us, and hopefully understands the spirit in which our venture is intended. Just for everyone's benefit I will explain our intentions:

1. We want to get new writers published and distributed as widely as possible - although it is fair to say that we will fair better in the UK as we are British-based. Breaking into US bookstores will be a little more tricky (and perhaps impossible for us).

2. The group of us who are involved all participate voluntarily. Being a member of Salvatore is a bit like being a moderator on this site. We do it for love (including Steve and I).

3. Yes, we currently use Lulu but that is set to change early in 2009 and all our titles will be shifted direct to the printers (no middleman).

We have several companies interested in sponsoring us and I will hopefully have funding by the end of January. This will enable us to promote our books more widely and really get behind them.

4. Of course we want to make a profit, but our goal will always be to provide a free service to writers. We only get our money back if we sell the books. To this end, we take 50% of the gross profit (the money paid to us after the printers' fees and retailers' fees are taken out). But (and this is a big BUT) WE WILL NOT BE ASKING THE AUTHOR FOR THE RIGHTS TO THE BOOK. That means the author can dump us at anytime and take his/her manuscript elsewhere if he or she is not happy.

5. The website is in embryo at the moment and some of the narrative may be vague or confusing to some. We will clarify some of the points that have been raised at a future date. In the meantime, I can say that although we do have a contract written out it still needs to be sanctioned by our sponsor.

6. The real business launches at the back end of January. Until then we are spreading the word to gauge reaction and so there are no nasty surprises waiting for us when we do. I guess there are a lot of scared people out there - I'm one of them. No, I don't trust manyof these so-called writer's/publishers/editors or whatever. I have been burned too. This is why Steve and I launched this idea. We're equally tired of it, but equally determined to make a difference.

7. We are not a flashy company. We are a group of volunteers prepared to give our free time to help others (and of course, ourselves). Our aim is to build something of worth. Something that may one day be seen as a true help to other writers. What we do have is enthusiasm and determination. We also have contacts. Indeed my next-door neighbour runs a printing company - guess where we're going to get our offset-printing deal from should we need a couple of thousand books? In the meantime, we are right to stick with print on demand to keep costs down.

8. What's in it for us? Well first we want to have fun. Yes, fun! Why not? We can't promise to make anybody rich, but we can share the thrill of Joe Public buying and reading your work. It's happening right now. Ask Andrew Fairhurst, the sci-fi author, how many copies he has sold to complete strangers...Hopefully, one day we will have a strong business that can stand on its own two feet and reward both the writers and the people who give their time to make this work. That's the goal.

9. So Salvatore will sell the author a batch of books at a discounted rate... what does that mean? I don't want to delude anybody into thinking you won't have to 'work' to get the ball rolling and get your book noticed. We can only do so much but we will be asking our authors to give their wholehearted efforts if they want to go beyond being 'just another POD book'. I sold 80 copies of my own book last week but not one copy through the internet. I had to 'work' to get those sales. I think the phrase is 'shoe leather.' Both our authors and ourselves will have to get off our backsides and sell. If that scares you off, then Salvatore really isn't right for you.

10. So why should you choose us? Well, for the same reasons Steve and I set this up. We wanted to be given a chance. Neither of us expected a huge publishing house to hand us a million-dollar book contract. All we wanted was for someone to support our work, help us polish it, and promote it. We were never interested in becoming millionaires, but to see the effort we've expended come to fruition. We ended up going it alone simply because there was no one out there to lend us the support we wanted, not unless we coughed up large sums of money. Personally, I don't mind if people decide to give us a wide berth - if no one wants to use us, then it demonstrates that we are wrong and there is no need for a business like ours. No problem. But people close to me are telling me otherwise.

11. Finally, the short story anthologies. These are designed with one thing in mind. To allow you guys to get your short stories into print. I'm sorry that we cannot pay for your work at present, but we do this in the spirit of fun and so far as group of friends... yes, friends. Our anthologies are open to all. If you are new to writing and you need help to bring your work up to scratch then we will advise you if you work needs some alteration (note that I used the word advise. We are all still learning ourselves, of course. Some may call this 'vanity publishing.' Stick what label you like to it. It's fun and I believe it's worthwhile. Of course, not all our publications will go to charity but in the first day A Writer's Christmas raised £50.00 for a children's charity. Not bad eh?

Anyway, thank you for reading :)

Guy Cousins

Memnon624
11-25-2008, 03:34 AM
Steve wrote:

But (and this is a big BUT) WE WILL NOT BE ASKING THE AUTHOR FOR THE RIGHTS TO THE BOOK.

The problem is, you CANNOT publish a writer's work without securing certain rights. What you might be trying to say is you will not retain copyright, which is altogether different than securing the rights to publish and distribute in North America.

I've been following this most of the day and, while I applaud your enthusiasm, your cluelessness is going to get you into hot water. "Publisher" is not an entry-level profession. Go forth and intern at a large house, hire on as an editor, something, before you try to start one of your own.

My .02,

Scott

Unimportant
11-25-2008, 03:49 AM
What Memnon624 Said.

If you don't know stuff -- what rights to ask for, what's a fair royalty rate to pay, how to format a book for printing, whatever -- please go learn it before you take on authors. If you don't yet have editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, layout designers, cover artists, distributors, etc in place -- please get them before you take on authors.

Publishing is a business. Authors expect their publishers to operate as a business. Successful small (and micro, and nano) presses succeed because they specialise and they are able to reach their specialised market, not because their owners have good intentions and a desire to have fun.

guy cousins
11-25-2008, 04:02 AM
Hi everyone, I finally managed to find a way on to this site and help Steve answer questions. Thank you for all of your comments, at least we've moved on from being another Publish America to 'clueless'. It's a start. My biggest concern was that you guys might think we're a couple of con-men. If we've established we're just a couple of idiots, then that's progress in my view.
All joking aside, I really do appreciate the comments I've read here, and it has indeed given us food for thought.
Hi Memnon, I understand your point, and it is true to say that there are flaws in both our terminology and our approach. I can assure you, everything on this thread has been taken on board but we do have the luxury of another publisher helping us in our efforts. Indeed the original contract that we raised was written by said publisher. I appreciate your concerns and it is true to say we are writers first and foremost - not publishers. However, we do indeed have a business plan, finance, and expert guidance to help us.
I feel the main problem is we were too premature in shouting about this, and this has lead to questions that Steve could not answer. We won't be truly ready to launch for another 2 months. I think if you pay us a vist in three or four months time, you might be pleasantly surprised.... we might still be around!
At least we've got people talking I guess. What do they say about bad publicity?

Guy

Cyia
11-25-2008, 04:23 AM
But (and this is a big BUT) WE WILL NOT BE ASKING THE AUTHOR FOR THE RIGHTS TO THE BOOK. That means the author can dump us at anytime and take his/her manuscript elsewhere if he or she is not happy.


*rasies hand*

Newbie with a question!!!!

If this is true, then how is the book considered "published" rather than simply "printed"? It sounds like there's no contract at all.

If you publish a book and then the author walks, will they be able to market the manuscript to another publisher (large or small) as a "new" book, or will it be considered a second edition?

How soon after such a walk out would you remove their book from your catalogue (list, whatever it's called)?

Torin
11-25-2008, 04:40 AM
Well, in this case, benefit of the doubt means that the initial thread should not have been locked, should not have been moved when all questions could have been answered politely by me in the original thread, <snip>

But if you had checked the stickies in that other board, you would have seen this: This is now an announcement-only board, which means that just like pretty much every other job board, you cannot respond to threads started by a job poster. The only people who can now respond to threads are the moderators.

If you see a job posted here that you think is dishonest, scamming, or seedy in some way, PLEASE REPORT IT to Julia or Cathy (the mods of this board). They can delete threads, move them to the "Bewares Board," or post additional information where necessary. (link to this sticky is http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42437

So the thread pretty much HAD to be moved and locked, since the rules prohibit this kind of discussion over there.

guy cousins
11-25-2008, 05:49 AM
Hi Cyia,
I think I'm very much the newbie here and I hope I'm welcome (gulp). Please don't be under the illusion that we are offering something that compares to a standard main street publisher. We cannot do that for several reasons (apart from the obvious). Firstly, if we were as grand as Random House then we would be the same as all the other big publishers - only interested in keeping shareholders and/or the banks happy. That means I would not be talking to you right now, and I would undoubtedly toss your ms in the bin (all due respect) without a second thought - unless I thought you would make me a fortune. I wouldn't be interested in your potential, or your style of writing - I would only want you if you were a money making machine. Hopefully, one day you will be just that, but until then....
Let me make this clear - I want my own work to be published by a mainstream publisher one day. Until that day comes I'm prepared to sweat all hours to sell what I've written. It took me two years for goodness sake - I can't toss it! I also happen to believe it's a half decent piece of work, but then I would wouldn't I?
Salvatore Publishing was originally designed as a vehicle to sell only our work but then along came some extra support in terms of finance and expertise and we felt we were able to expand it to help others. I agree that we need revisit our strategy, and maybe even calm our enthusiasm and replace it with a clearer vision - particularly how we sell overseas. But we do have people on our team who can format books for printing, we do have an artsit, we do have copy editors and proof readers... we just don't pay them ;) lol

I'm not really answering your question am I? Sorry. Look, I don't believe anybody should take over the copyright of your work unless they're prepared to stump up the cash and give you a reasonable advance. We can't do that. We simply need our resources to pay for marketing and (hopefully) a large supply of the books we want to sell. This is why I referred rather vaguely to our 'original' contract - the one drafted by our publisher friends. That contract asked for all the rights to your work and I disagreed with that. I'm not big enough to take on that responsibilty and Salvatore hasn't proved itself yet. Our business needs to prove it can produce good quality books and sell them. We're on track, but we have a long way to go.

I can see that we have upset a few people by declaring this venture, and inevitably prompted a few suspicious glances. That is to be expected. Funny, but being on a thread that has been shipped over to the 'beware of this man' section feels a bit like being in prison. I feel like a circus freak. Honestly, Cyia, I think we need to return when we can fully explain our business strategy to people, and the search for more investement will continue beyond what we already have. Believe it or not, there are people out there who think this is a noble cause and are prepared to throw some money at it, in return for advertizing space on the website I hasten to add.

I could offer you the acid test if you were really interested. If you really want to know what our mainstream books are all about then I could send you a copy of my novel free of charge. If you think the editing and formatting inside the book stinks then you can tell the whole world about it, and I'll be on everybody's 'naughty boy' list lol.

I think I answered your qustion.. didn't I?

Topaz044
11-25-2008, 06:28 AM
Hi Guy Cousins, welcome to Absolute Write.

Just going by my limited experience, I have a few comments. The biggest problem IMO of not having a copyright is that there is no reason why the book cannot be plagiarized by someone else. By default, copyright belongs to the author, however if someone steals the book and distributes it an author would not be able to prove in court that the book is there creation UNLESS:

1) By default, the publishers have a copyright on the book.
2) The author would have to go to the US copyright office and pay to have it copyrighted (45.00 fee not including potentially hundreds of dollars for legal advice).

Wouldn't it be better to copyright the book, but allow a clause in the contract to permit the author to break the contract at any time, if that's what you want your sales pitch to be?

Memnon624
11-25-2008, 06:29 AM
I can understand and appreciate your position, Guy, but you need to understand and appreciate the fact that frustrated writers make horrible publishers. The skill set that makes a person a good editor or a good business-person (which is what publishers are) is counter-intuitive to what makes a good writer. To what makes a salable writer. Self-publishing fiction is not in a writer's best interest, because the mass distribution channels are by and large closed to self-publishing. They are also by and large closed to POD models. And, by going one step beyond and seeking the manuscripts of others to publish as well only compounds your problems. Writers just like you will be expecting you to know more about the business than they do; they will be expecting you to be able to place the fruits of their hard work in bookstores nation wide. And this, despite all your good intentions, all your laudable enthusiasm, you've given no indication that you can do.

I don't consider Salvatore Publishing to be a scam outfit at all . . . I think you're sincere, that you want to help out other writers like yourself. But, unless you've worked in publishing -- preferably at a large house or distinguished small press -- then you haven't clue one as to what you're doing. The quote below cements this in my mind:


Firstly, if we were as grand as Random House then we would be the same as all the other big publishers - only interested in keeping shareholders and/or the banks happy. That means I would not be talking to you right now, and I would undoubtedly toss your ms in the bin (all due respect) without a second thought - unless I thought you would make me a fortune. I wouldn't be interested in your potential, or your style of writing - I would only want you if you were a money making machine. Hopefully, one day you will be just that, but until then....

I have two books and another two on the way with Random House/Transworld UK and let me tell you, they care very deeply about books, writers, AND about the business end of publishing. They and my US editor talk to me quite often regarding what types of things I'd like to write, problems I may be having with the work, and how I might maximize my potential. They've never balked because I've not made them a fortune. This is the part where bitter writer = bad publisher, because you're making assumptions based on feeling (possibly of rejection) rather than on how the business actually operates. Not every book is ready to be shown to the world; some will never be ready.

Can I offer a bit of wholly unsolicited advice? Your friend who is a publisher, have you approached him/her about taking on Salvatore Publishing as an imprint of their own house? This way, you could use your financing like a small budget, use their distribution channels, put out a couple of books a year, and get some real-world publishing experience before you go forth to tilt at the windmills.

In any event, I wish you the best with your endeavors. It takes a big brass pair to come here and stand before the firing squad of your own volition ;)

Best,

Scott

victoriastrauss
11-25-2008, 06:34 AM
I'm coming late to this thread, as I've had a busy day.

First off, no one at any point accused SP of being disreputable or dishonest. If I'd been online at the time, I'd have done exactly what Eraser did in transferring the thread--and, to be honest, I might have made a similar comment. However, having read Steve's posts, I do understand why he was so upset at the PA comment--and I think that's fair. That said, I don't think that anyone owes anyone an apology at this point.

Second, I want to thank Steve and Guy for keeping their cool under pressure--and everyone else for keeping things civil. There's sometimes a bit of a pile-on mentality in this forum, and while there's been some tough questioning and blunt responses, I haven't seen that in this case.

Third...I'm afraid that I share what seems to be the general opinion, that SP seems to be starting off with too little experience. I also have questions about what--based on Steve's and Guy's posts--appears to be its business model.


4. Of course we want to make a profit, but our goal will always be to provide a free service to writers. We only get our money back if we sell the books. To this end, we take 50% of the gross profit (the money paid to us after the printers' fees and retailers' fees are taken out). But (and this is a big BUT) WE WILL NOT BE ASKING THE AUTHOR FOR THE RIGHTS TO THE BOOK. That means the author can dump us at anytime and take his/her manuscript elsewhere if he or she is not happy. A few comments. First, 50% sounds good--but "gross profit" should always raise a red flag for writers. Depending on what fees are deducted, it can reduce royalty rates to a pittance. Generally speaking, writers are better off with a straight percentage of list price, or even of net income.

Second--it's great that you seem to be allowing authors to terminate the relationship at will. But as has been pointed out, in order to publish, you MUST take rights--even if you only do so nonexclusively. I wonder if you're confusing rights with copyright? This is a common confusion, but it's not something you really want to see in a publisher.


5. The website is in embryo at the moment and some of the narrative may be vague or confusing to some. We will clarify some of the points that have been raised at a future date. In the meantime, I can say that although we do have a contract written out it still needs to be sanctioned by our sponsor.It would be far more encouraging to publisher watchers like me if you'd resolved these issues prior to putting up your website and calling for submissions. You should work out the kinks before going live, not after. Going public before they're ready is a common mistake made by inexperienced publishers, and it can seriously handicap their future operation.


7. We are not a flashy company. We are a group of volunteers prepared to give our free time to help others (and of course, ourselves). Our aim is to build something of worth. I'm a volunteer myself, and I admire the generosity of people who give their time to volunteer work. However, I don't think I'd want the staff at my publisher to be volunteers. What happens when things go wrong, when kids get sick, when there's overtime at the job? Passionate as you may be about your volunteer work, it will have to take a back seat at times. I'd prefer my publishers' staff to be paid--that way, I can be sure that publishing is always in the front seat.


9. So Salvatore will sell the author a batch of books at a discounted rate... what does that mean? I don't want to delude anybody into thinking you won't have to 'work' to get the ball rolling and get your book noticed. We can only do so much but we will be asking our authors to give their wholehearted efforts if they want to go beyond being 'just another POD book'. I sold 80 copies of my own book last week but not one copy through the internet. I had to 'work' to get those sales. I think the phrase is 'shoe leather.' Both our authors and ourselves will have to get off our backsides and sell. If that scares you off, then Salvatore really isn't right for you.Again, kudos to you for being honest about your business model. But I'm being honest too when I say that this is not what real publishers do. Relying on your authors both as your principal consumers and your unpaid sales force shifts to them the burden of marketing that should belong to the publisher--thereby reducing the publisher's incentive to engage in marketing efforts itself--and the burden of buying that should belong to readers--reducing the publisher's need to market even further, since they know they can make money off their authors.

Once you get set up in a business model like this, it's very hard to get out of it. It's a safe business model, because while it won't enrich you (or your authors) it does let you scrape by. But to move on even to short run publishing requires a willingness to incur financial risk, and the longer you rely on your authors to cover your business bottom line, the more difficult it will be to make that financial leap.

Bottom line: a publisher should begin as it means to go on. If its goal is to engage in commercial-style publishing, that's what it should do from the start. What this means for writers: you need to take the publisher as it is, not as it says it's going to be. In other words, if it's POD/author-supported now, it very well may be in the future too.


11. Finally, the short story anthologies. These are designed with one thing in mind. To allow you guys to get your short stories into print. I'm sorry that we cannot pay for your work at present, but we do this in the spirit of fun and so far as group of friends... yes, friends.That's great, if you're joining up with people who actually are your friends, and you all agree to do something together without thought of remuneration.

But once you start to call for submissions from people you don't know, you're moving into different territory. I know that many smaller publishers can't afford to pay advances or even per-word fees--but they can at least offer a share of royalties. It simply isn't professional to expect writers to give you their work for free. And again, despite what your website says about authors keeping their rights, it isn't possible to publish a story unless the writer grants you rights in some form.

I'm sorry, but I don't see any of this as promoting new writers--to me, it seems more like sidetracking them. I'll also reiterate something I often say (it's been said at least once already in this thread)--writers are well advised to adopt a "wait and see" approach with ANY new publisher. The rate of attrition among new publishers is high; not only does waiting a year or so give writers some assurance of stability, it makes it possible for them to evaluate the quality of the books, what kind of marketing is being done, and so on. Also, with less experienced publishers, the authors they publish first tend to serve as guinea pigs as they struggle to learn on the job. This can wind up being a pretty uncomfortable position.

Steve and Guy, I know it seems that the criticism that's been offered here is harsh. But at Absolute Write, and especially in this forum, we tend to look at things from the writer's perspective. It's not so much that we want to punch holes in new publishers; it's that we want to protect writers. I understand that from your perspective, it must feel much more like the former than the latter, but I hope you'll consider taking some of our comments on board.

- Victoria

victoriastrauss
11-25-2008, 06:52 AM
I'm not really answering your question am I? Sorry. Look, I don't believe anybody should take over the copyright of your work unless they're prepared to stump up the cash and give you a reasonable advance. We can't do that. We simply need our resources to pay for marketing and (hopefully) a large supply of the books we want to sell. This is why I referred rather vaguely to our 'original' contract - the one drafted by our publisher friends. That contract asked for all the rights to your work and I disagreed with that.

This suggests to me that I'm right--there is considerable confusion here about the difference between rights and copyright.

By law, copyright belongs to the author from the moment a work is fixed in tangible form (i.e, written down). No further action on the author's part--including registration--is required. (In fact, most countries don't have a formal registration process. The USA is one of the few exceptions.)

The possession of copyright is what makes it possible for an author to sell or grant rights in his or her work to a publisher. By granting rights, you do not surrender copyright (unless this is specifically demanded by the publisher). Nor do you surrender ownership of the rights you grant; you simply enter into an exclusive or nonexclusive contract that allows your publisher to exploit some or all of those rights for profit for a limited amount of time, and pay you a share of the proceeds. Once the work goes out of print (which in most cases happens within a few years), you can regain your rights and do something else with them.

The distinction between rights and copyright is an absolutely fundamental piece of knowledge for a publisher (and an author).

All-rights contracts are the default for larger publishers. It's expected that the author will negotiate with the publisher to keep some of those rights; others, the publisher will actively attempt to market. Smaller publishers should limit the rights they take to what they can realistically expect to exploit themselves or license to others. For instance, a smaller publisher with no connections to the film industry shouldn't demand film rights.

- Victoria

guy cousins
11-25-2008, 08:12 AM
OK guys - thank you. There's even more to think about now, and for sure I really don't want to be a 'horrible publisher.' Truth is, my friends at the publishing house only publish 'coffee table' books - more pictures than words, you know the type of thing. But they are on hand to advise me.

Hmmm... I never realized I was in such esteemed company, and now you mention it I believe I have seen Scott's books in Waterstones. Okay, so maybe we need to rethink this. I'm not sure how best to approach this right now but I swear (and I know Steve is the same) I truly believe someone needs to invest in new writers. I'm not talking casual hobbyists, but writers who sit down and work on a novel for 12-18 months (sometimes more). I still want to pursue that, but it calls for a rethink how I'm gonna do it. Thanks for the sound advice.

But let me share something with you. Let me tell you about two of the writers who contributed to the Christmas book we put together. One guy works in a bar in South Carolina (big place I know, but I don't know which town). When we launched the Christmas book, the first thing he did was print off the cover and stuck it up behind the bar for all to see. People asked him about it. Immediately, one of his regular customers whipped out his laptop and ordered a copy there and then.
The writer - his name is Dave Lee - was obviously thrilled by this and he has told me several times how happy he is to be published, albeit in a simple anthology. But that customer didn't just buy Dave Lee's story, he bought about twenty others at the same time - all the other stories in the anthology of course.

A little later, across the pond in Lincolnshire, our sci/fi guy Andrew went into work and told his work colleagues about the book. He sold 16 copies in one hit! But what Andrew maybe doesn't realize (but I do), is that when Dave Lee back in Carolina hears that 16 strangers from another country are gonna read his story... well you can imagine. Those guys tell me that what we're doing is good news. So I have to proceed. I just need to rethink it.

Scott, I'm pleased that Random House support you. Forgive my own suspicions on this matter, and I'm glad I'm wrong. And thanks to everyone for the valuable information. So we may need to reign ourselves in a little and proceed with caution, but I know we can make a difference. I know we're heading along the right lines.... I guess the acid test is whether we can sell our own material.

Anyway, I can't make that decision right now, it requires a lot more thought. Thanks everyone.

suki
11-25-2008, 08:23 AM
OK guys - thank you. There's even more to think about now, and for sure I really don't want to be a 'horrible publisher.'

...And thanks to everyone for the valuable information. So we may need to reign ourselves in a little and proceed with caution, but I know we can make a difference. I know we're heading along the right lines.... I guess the acid test is whether we can sell our own material.

Anyway, I can't make that decision right now, it requires a lot more thought. Thanks everyone.

I've just finished reading through the thread from the first post to last, and agree with many of the concerns voiced. I believe that you are sincere but inexperienced, rather than ill-intentioned. But I do feel the need to add one more suggestion, precisely because I do believe that you are well-intentioned.

Guy and Steve, if you haven't already you need to spend some serious time consulting a lawyer who is familiar with the copyright and contract law in the UK and US (maybe two different lawyers?). Before agreeing to take on anyone's work but your own, get some (more?) legal advice. Not just on copyright and rights, but on contracts and what obligations you are undertaking in soliciting and taking on others' work. And especially about what kinds of disclosures you need to make to avoid actionable misunderstandings with authors.

good luck.

~suki

guy cousins
11-25-2008, 12:07 PM
Hi Suki,
You read the entire thread? That feat alone deserves a round of applause!
Sure, I think the message is coming across loud and clear and we're not going to ignore it. I understand all the concerns and there are probably many more that haven't even been voiced yet. We don't want to add to the growing list of POD publishers to be avoided, we want to prove to ourselves a legitamate alternative to new authors. We may have a bit of financial backing (yes, I've managed to impress a few people outside the industry), and of course our team of willing slaves, but we need more industry expertise. So that's the next challenge.
Believe it or not, I'm actually relieved Steve posted here. Better to come across this kind of scrutiny now, than later when we've invested all our money only to find ourselves being frowned upon.
I'm still convinced there's a raft of talent that is being ignored simply because publishers or agents don't believe they will sell. OK that's an imprtant consideration, but I think you know what I'm saying.
The last two (no three in fact) books that I have read have all been independently published through Print on Demand. I still think publishers play it safe and churn out too many paperbacks that are just the 'same old.' I can only speak for myself of course. The last decent book that I read off the shelf? The Book Thief. And that was 12 months ago.
Anyway, I think I'm veering off thread now. Of course any more advice and/or opinion is welcome. At least I think we understand each other a little better now.

Guy

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 02:14 PM
I'm still convinced there's a raft of talent that is being ignored simply because publishers or agents don't believe they will sell. OK that's an imprtant consideration, but I think you know what I'm saying.

Assuming that there is such a body of ignored talent, though, I'm not sure that it's a step up to print their short stories in an anthology without payment for them. Or even to POD-publish their manuscripts without advances and then expect them to do the bulk of the selling. There's something worse than not being published, and that's being published badly, because in the latter situation, you no longer have your rights of first publication.

I'm glad your friend was able to sell 16 copies of a book to his colleagues, and if tapping a pocket market is all that your writers want, that should be fine. Just be aware that every POD publisher out there (even PA!) can claim similar small success stories. Authors can often sell books to their co-workers or customers; the trick is selling the books to people who don't know you, or getting them on to bookshelves.

Anyway, it sounds as though you're taking people's comments and concerns into consideration, and that's great.

Skywriter
11-25-2008, 02:37 PM
As a regular visitor to AW and several other writing forums, albeit not one who posts very often, I feel strongly enough about this issue to post my 2c worth here...

First of all, it seems odd to me that a discussion (well, one reply by a moderator) about a publisher on AW gets transferred to a board called Bewares & Background Check. The title of this board surely has negative connotations, and casual visitors are immediately likely to assume that the publisher concerned is under suspicion. I appreciate that regular members of AW may understand that companies discussed here are not automatically 'presumed guilty', but casual visitors (who may be referred by a search engine query, for example) might not know this.

I think Steve and Guy also have grounds for complaint in that the supposed policy of moving all discussions about any writing opportunity to this board is not being applied equally or fairly. Anyone can see by a quick visit to the writing opportunities boards that in some cases there have been 20 or more replies to a topic. Why have these not been moved to Bewares & Background Check as well?

Personally, I think that if AW is going to have a system like this, it should change the name of this board to 'Publisher Discussions' or something equally neutral and non-judgmental, and ensure that all responses to a publisher post are moved to this board, and not simply those that a moderator takes a dislike to.

Just my opinion, of course. I don't know Steve or Guy or their company and have no inclination to take up their service, but as a reasonably objective observer I feel that they have been treated less than fairly here.

guy cousins
11-25-2008, 03:27 PM
Hi Skywriter,
Thank you for your words of support, and yes I was initially shocked by the immediate backlash, but then on reflection I do understand people's feelings - truly.

To be honest, apart from being booted into the dungeon while we await trial lol, most of the comments have been fair and relevent. I won't pretend I'm not a little bruised and Steve is no doubt tending his wounds right now - but I do accept there are obvious flaws that we need to address before launching a fully fledged publishing house, albeit a tiny one that initially relies on POD.

Some of the suggestions and comments are extremly useful, indeed I agree that our website needs some serious surgery. More importantly we need to work closely with people in the publishing industry who can help point us in the right direction. That level of expertese may not be easy to come by, indeed we may have to pay for such in-depth coaching and advice.

One thing for sure, when the time comes, I will not publish another authors book unless Salvatore has a proven track record and a decent distribution strategy as well as all the other elements of publishing that have been raised in discussion. This experience has caused us to seriously rethink how we roll this out and manage our businesss but has not deterred us. I know there will always be doubters out there, but people who tell me I can't do something, only inspire me to achieve.

I'm still sitting in my cell, but the sun is streaming through the bars in the window.:)

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 04:51 PM
What's done is done. While I thank the people who supported us in this thread, the constructive criticism we've received has been, if anything, more important.
Because of this criticism, we'll now rethink virtually every aspect of our business, so I also thank all those who've enlightened us.

We hope that, when we relaunch, we'll be in a much better position to help new writers in their prospective careers. :)

Steve

rostaria01
11-25-2008, 05:25 PM
WE WILL NOT BE ASKING THE AUTHOR FOR THE RIGHTS TO THE BOOK. That means the author can dump us at anytime and take his/her manuscript elsewhere if he or she is not happy.


The problem with that, is if it has been "published" with you and then they walk you wont be able to publish it anywhere else. period, trust me, I am currently rewriting my book from scratch changing and stuff

also you dont offer an advance that for me raises eyebrows alone, no offence but I dont wont my book in your hands and I dont get an advance for it! dont attack me I am just being honest

Sheryl Nantus
11-25-2008, 05:35 PM
Thanks for being such a good sport, Steve (and Guy!)

I realize that it may have been a bit of a clusterbuck here for a few days, but there's been scores and scores of publishing companies set up by disgruntled authors (or wannabee authors) who figure that they'll somehow make it work. But like any other business, if you don't have a firm foundation and grasp of the business principles behind it, you'll not only fail but you'll end up dragging your authors down with you. Or you'll end up like so many other author mills; depending solely on your authors to make sales and then dealing with the fallout - there's plenty of those out there already; you don't need to add to the wreckage!

Can you make it work? Sure - there are plenty of small presses out there and many of them listed here that make a go of it. But you have to be so careful to NOT fall into the trap of thinking that running your own business is going to be easy because you're eager and full of energy.

Good luck and see you back soon!!!

ejket
11-25-2008, 06:05 PM
What's done is done. While I thank the people who supported us in this thread, the constructive criticism we've received has been, if anything, more important.
Even the comments that you don't see today as being constructive you may see as such in the full light of future experience.


Because of this criticism, we'll now rethink virtually every aspect of our business, so I also thank all those who've enlightened us.

We hope that, when we relaunch, we'll be in a much better position to help new writers in their prospective careers. :)This sounds promising. Frankly I was concerned... you seem like nice guys, but you also seemed on the brink of making some painful mistakes.

Good luck, and don't rush it. Many (and I mean many) similar efforts have foundered on the shoals of inadequate distribution, so pay special attention to that: you can't just drop this on the shoulders of the author and be considered a desirable publisher.

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 06:43 PM
But you have to be so careful to NOT fall into the trap of thinking that running your own business is going to be easy because you're eager and full of energy.

Another concern I'd have with starting such a business and not knowing much about it is that an author who signs up because of the fun of seeing his work in print may become disillusioned later on by a lack of sales, lack of profits, etc. and may seek legal redress. If your contract doesn't cover that issue (e.g. making it clear that SP doesn't do marketing/distribution), this could be problematic for you.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 07:08 PM
Thank you for your comments, everyone. :)
They're all helpful, and you've raised good points which we hope to address in future, once we've taken advice from more experienced people than ourselves.

One thing I'd like to address now though: I've read so often recently that even major publishers rarely offer advances anymore, and then only because a book is viewed as a guaranteed 'hit' (if it's written by a celebrity or by the likes of Stephen King, for example); most of the time nowadays, publishers prefer to offer a percentage of sales - am I mistaken in this, though? I welcome any input you all have on this matter, as to the best of my knowledge, advances are a rarity these days, so I'm a bit surprised that some here believe SP, a small publisher, should offer advances as standard practise.

As I hinted, I'm not pushing my own point of view here, and welcome any insight you can give - I was simply under the impression that advances are a rarity, particularly in the current financial climate.

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 07:10 PM
One thing I'd like to address now though: I've read so often recently that even major publishers rarely offer advances anymore

That would mean that literary agents rarely get paid when they sell books. Somehow I don't think agents are so altruistic.

Check out the deals in Publisher's Lunch - advances are paid to debut authors more often than "rarely".

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 07:25 PM
That would mean that literary agents rarely get paid when they sell books. Somehow I don't think agents are so altruistic.

Check out the deals in Publisher's Lunch - advances are paid to debut authors more often than "rarely".

Are those particular publishers small concerns, like SP? Are those authors the beneficiaries of a bidding war between publishers? Or are the advances relatively small?

I'm not arguing, I'm simply seeking objective guidance.

Memnon624
11-25-2008, 07:26 PM
One thing I'd like to address now though: I've read so often recently that even major publishers rarely offer advances anymore, and then only because a book is viewed as a guaranteed 'hit' (if it's written by a celebrity or by the likes of Stephen King, for example); most of the time nowadays, publishers prefer to offer a percentage of sales - am I mistaken in this, though? I welcome any input you all have on this matter, as to the best of my knowledge, advances are a rarity these days, so I'm a bit surprised that some here believe SP, a small publisher, should offer advances as standard practise.

I'm no celebrity and I've received an advance for every book I've written -- some small, others rather substantial. The notion that advances are no longer offered is a myth. In general, the smaller the publisher, the smaller the advance. If you get your distribution in order and offer a small advance, then follow up with perhaps a higher-than-average royalty rate, that will go a long way toward building a positive reputation. But, keep in mind: all of this is useless if your books cannot be picked up in the stores. Selling to friends and family might be a balm to the writer's ego, but the serious writers that Guy mentions up-thread are going to want something more. And, despite the rising tide of online sales, the lion's share of books are still purchased in brick-and-mortar stores.

You guys have a good attitude about this; I hope it survives ;)

Best,

Scott

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 07:31 PM
Thanks for your advice and encouragement, Scott :)

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 07:49 PM
Are those particular publishers small concerns, like SP?

I thought we were discussing major publishers, since those are what you mentioned when you said "even major publishers rarely offer advances anymore".

But there are several small presses which offer advances as well. Micropresses or POD startups generally do not.


Are those authors the beneficiaries of a bidding war between publishers? Or are the advances relatively small?

Check out Publisher's Lunch Weekly; "major deal", "good deal", "nice deal" and "significant deal" all have different meanings when it comes to advance size.

suki
11-25-2008, 07:50 PM
One thing I'd like to address now though: I've read so often recently that even major publishers rarely offer advances anymore, and then only because a book is viewed as a guaranteed 'hit' (if it's written by a celebrity or by the likes of Stephen King, for example); most of the time nowadays, publishers prefer to offer a percentage of sales - am I mistaken in this, though?

Can't speak for what many or most major publishers are doing, but I have contact with a lot of published authors and I don't know of a single author published by a large publisher who has NOT received an advance against sales and royalties structure. Advances and royalties still seems to be the norm for the larger publishers.

~suki

rostaria01
11-25-2008, 07:54 PM
I maybe wrong in saying, I sort of see the advance as a kind of deposit, on the main work, the publisher may never get that advance back. I wouldnt trust anyone with my work that doesnt offer a advance no matter how small that is.
regards.
Ros

guy cousins
11-25-2008, 08:05 PM
I'm starting to wonder whether I trust myself:flag:

rostaria01
11-25-2008, 08:09 PM
I'm starting to wonder whether I trust myself:flag:
What do you men at the end of it you need to understand that its a dog eat dog world, and I almost got scammed

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 08:10 PM
Thanks once again for your words, all.
I really don't want to spend the rest of my life on this thread, :D so I'll back out now, assuming that virtually every question has been asked, and answered as well as I can.

We will take advice & rework our flawed business model, and hopefully return as wiser people. Best of luck to you all with your writing. :)

victoriastrauss
11-25-2008, 08:11 PM
One thing I'd like to address now though: I've read so often recently that even major publishers rarely offer advances anymore, and then only because a book is viewed as a guaranteed 'hit' (if it's written by a celebrity or by the likes of Stephen King, for example); most of the time nowadays, publishers prefer to offer a percentage of sales - am I mistaken in this, though?

All publishers pay a percentage of sales--a.k.a. a royalty. An advance is an advance on royalties--a good-faith payment by the publisher in advance of sales (often, though by no means always, the advance is based on the amount of royalties the publisher estimates the book will earn in the first year after release). An advance expresses the publisher's commitment to marketing the book, and to taking the financial risks necessary to do that.

Advances must be "earned out"--i.e, fully recouped by royalties generated from sales--before the author receives any additional royalty payments. Since an advance is a bit of a gamble by the publisher, often they never do earn out. But the advance is the author's to keep, no matter what. Contrary to popular writers' mythology, advances do not have to be returned to the publisher.

Advances are NOT becoming less common. All large houses pay advances--to all their authors, not just the established or celebrity ones. The larger independents pay advances too, and many of the smaller ones as well (albeit in smaller amounts). No matter what you may have heard, paying an advance is a basic part of the commercial publishing model, and that's no less true today than it was 50 years ago. It's only when you get into the very small press, micropress, and epublishing world that advances become uncommon.

- Victoria

guy cousins
11-25-2008, 08:13 PM
I almost got scammed

Ouch! So did I Rostaria, and so did Steve - by the same company who now incidently have vanished from the internet after not paying their bills.

I hear you, that's all I'm saying.

guy cousins
11-25-2008, 08:16 PM
It's only when you get into the very small press, micropress, and epublishing world that advances become uncommon

I guess that's where we're coming from Victoria.

IceCreamEmpress
11-25-2008, 08:44 PM
Here's the thing, Steve and Guy:

You've been mixing up a lot of stuff in your statements. Saying things like "Even major publishers no longer give advances to new writers" is a) palpably untrue, and b) rhetoric that's circulated by vanity publishers for the benefit of vanity publishers.

If what you mean is "We want to be a micropress, and our understanding is that micropresses generally don't give advances," then you'll make a more professional impression by saying that. The defensive "BLAH BLAH RANDOM HOUSE" stuff makes you come off as either duplicitous or clueless.

Having read your good responses, I don't think you guys are duplicitous. And I wouldn't call you "clueless" but I do think you're lacking some really important information right now.

There is nothing at all wrong in setting up a micropress that functions as a kind of self-publishing co-operative, where authors hand-sell their work and the micropress's cut of the proceeds goes to fund the operating expenses (editing, set-up, cover design, printing, etc.) There are other folks out there doing just that. It's a worthy enterprise.

But you want to approach it in a way that protects you guys and your authors from legal and financial challenges down the road. You've gotten a lot of good advice in this thread, and it sounds like you're planning to act on it. And you've done one important thing right so far--made your authors happy. If you can add the element of informed oversight and planning for the future to that, you'll be right.

guy cousins
11-25-2008, 08:50 PM
There is nothing at all wrong in setting up a micropress that functions as a kind of self-publishing co-operative, where authors hand-sell their work and the micropress's cut of the proceeds goes to fund the operating expenses (editing, set-up, cover design, printing, etc.) There are other folks out there doing just that. It's a worthy enterprise.



Thank you. I think that nails it. That's exactly how we should be approaching this....

runs away excitedly to tell Steve.:Hug2:

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 09:08 PM
Thank you for that excellent post, ICE. :) The following isn't specifically aimed at you, of course.

Sadly, it seems that whenever I've offered an opinion like 'From what I've read, even major publishers rarely pay advances - but am I mistaken? Can I get some guidance?', some people seem to interpret that as 'We're mean and corrupt, so we won't pay advances'. And even though I was only offering received wisdom, made it clear I was doing so, and asking people if what I'd read was wrong, apparently this means that I'm effectively saying 'This is a neat way for me to get out of paying advances, so to hell with truth...'

I have nothing to do with finances. I'm only answering all these questions out of respect for more experienced writers & because I care about SP's reputation.
A little objectivity would be nice.

mscelina
11-25-2008, 09:22 PM
*sigh*

Steve,

Everyone in this thread is trying to help you. It's unworthy of you--and somewhat unprofessional--to keep up with this poor pitiful me routine. The response you've received from the extremely well-informed posters on this board has been extremely objective. Anyone starting up a new business has to do a great deal of research on that industry to make certain that all of their ducks are in a row. You gentlemen are doing that; everyone here is grateful and pleased that you are.

Marian Perera
11-25-2008, 09:24 PM
Sadly, it seems that whenever I've offered an opinion like 'From what I've read, even major publishers rarely pay advances - but am I mistaken? Can I get some guidance?', some people seem to interpret that as 'We're mean and corrupt, so we won't pay advances'. And even though I was only offering received wisdom

I'm sorry, but what is the "received wisdom" you were offering? Surely not the erroneous claim that "even major publishers rarely pay advances".


A little objectivity would be nice.

A little less cluelessness followed by protestations when called on that cluelessness would be nice too.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 09:34 PM
Hi mscelina :)

Whether I'm right or wrong (and it seems that the majority think I'm wrong), I genuinely do feel that this whole affair was badly handled at the very start. But that's just my opinion, and it's true to say that I am in a minority of one. In fact, far more clever and experienced people than me have since written that I'm mistaken, so that's fair enough. It really isn't a 'routine' though; I feel that people suspect that I'm dishonest, and that isn't the case, despite our much-criticised business model (which was partially based on a now-defunct small publishing company - we should have known better).

CaoPaux
11-25-2008, 10:08 PM
We recognize that half the battle is knowing what questions to ask. It's unfortunate you made this venture public without performing due diligence, but we've provided you not only with the questions, but where to look for the answers. Now it's up to you.

Best of luck. We look forward to hearing of your success.

StevenJ
11-25-2008, 10:11 PM
Best of luck. We look forward to hearing of your success.

Thank you very much, very kind of you. :)

IceCreamEmpress
11-25-2008, 10:32 PM
Sadly, it seems that whenever I've offered an opinion like 'From what I've read, even major publishers rarely pay advances - but am I mistaken? Can I get some guidance?', some people seem to interpret that as 'We're mean and corrupt, so we won't pay advances'. And even though I was only offering received wisdom...

That's because the only people who purposefully perpetuate that misinformation are shady vanity publishers. Or people who got that misinformation from shady vanity publishers and don't have enough accurate information to know the difference.

I think this is a big part of why some people might react to you as if you were a shady vanity publisher--your writing indicates clearly that you are an intelligent person, and they assume on the basis of that that you are being disingenous rather than ill-informed.

Carmy
11-25-2008, 11:17 PM
You know, Steve and Guy, when your publishing house becomes a success we shall all feel that we've had some small part to play.

Wishing you the best of luck and looking forward to reading that Salvatore Publishing is an honoured and trustworthy place to submit.

Old Hack
11-25-2008, 11:58 PM
Well. I’ve read through this all and am pleased that it’s not degenerated into a fist-fight: well done, Steve and Guy, for mostly maintaining your dignity under fire. And thank you for providing me with enough material to keep my blog going for another couple of weeks!

What follows is my summary of all the points that have been raised, but perhaps missed in the crossfire. Some of these questions have been partially addressed, some have been glossed over as the conversation moved on: I thought it might be useful to summarise them all in one place. So forgive me for the following marathon post, which I’ll split into two. The quotes all belong to Steve or Guy, by the way.


…[we] were led to believe that 50% gross profit for an author was actually very generous

The problem with a percentage of profits is that it’s possible to manipulate figures to show no profit at all—so the author gets nothing. A percentage of cover price is far more desirable for a writer (in my experience, anything from 8% to 15% is normal, depending on book type and genre).


an author who publishes with SP retains the rights to their work - we don't own it, they do.

Copyright and rights are two separate things. All writers own the copyright to their work as soon as they’ve written it. They can then license various rights to that work to their publishers. Now, you might be happy to release all rights on request: but if you’ve already published the work, you’ve already used up the first rights to that work, which can’t be returned. And it’s those first rights that publishers want to license, so by publishing with you, most writers will lose any chance of a more mainstream, commercial publication of that work.


Both Guy & I have had to sign release forms in the recent past, when we've submitted to publishers...

Release forms aren’t usual in book publishing, although they are sometimes requested in scriptwriting. However, according to an Emmy-winning friend of mine, they’re not usual there either and he’s never signed one. I’d be interested to know which publishers those were, because it doesn’t sound good to me.


That was always our aim: to beat an easier path for people who want to be published..without having to wait months n' months only to receive (perhaps) a bland, anonymous rejection slip...

There are good reasons for the waiting, and for the anonymous rejection slip: slush piles are horrible, and ever-growing, and editors and agents are notoriously overstretched, so it takes time to work through them; it takes even more time for everyone in a publishing house to read work that is going to be taken up; and personalised rejections take even more time—and are often argued about, which is why few editors are prepared to take the trouble to write them any more. I speak from personal experience—I was stalked by a writer I wrote a personal rejection to, and it wasn’t good.

Old Hack
11-25-2008, 11:59 PM
And the second half: is anyone still with me? Thank you!


We're going to be hiring professional proof-readers and editors in 2009.

But if you’re already requesting submissions, you need editors now.


We already have staff with business (sales) experience.

Are they experienced in book selling? And does this mean that you have a sales and distribution system in place that will get the books into bookshops? Because if not, they’re not particularly significant at the moment.


We want to get new writers published and distributed as widely as possible

And for that you need a sales and distribution service in place—which means you need to hire a national sales team, and find a wholesaler or distributor which is willing to take you on.


although we do have a contract written out it still needs to be sanctioned by our sponsor.

You might like to approach the Society of Authors to help you with your contract. I think that they do that sometimes.


my next-door neighbour runs a printing company - guess where we're going to get our offset-printing deal from should we need a couple of thousand books? In the meantime, we are right to stick with print on demand to keep costs down.

Perhaps you should visit Behler Publications’ blog and find out what their editorial director thinks of publishers which rely on POD, and the reasons for her opinion.


We can only do so much but we will be asking our authors to give their wholehearted efforts if they want to go beyond being 'just another POD book'.… I think the phrase is 'shoe leather.'

The thing is, most writers want to be writers, not salespeople. And most books which are promoted this way sell very few copies. It’s not a good choice for a writer who wants to write books rather than sell books, or a writer who wants to be widely read.


Please don't be under the illusion that we are offering something that compares to a standard main street publisher. We cannot do that for several reasons (apart from the obvious).... I would not be talking to you right now, and I would undoubtedly toss your ms in the bin (all due respect) without a second thought… I would only want you if you were a money making machine.

If you don’t recognise that your business has to earn money right from the start, you’re doomed to fail. Publishing is an expensive business when it’s done right: have a look at Snowbooks’ various blog posts about finance, returns, and costs. They had over £100,000 in finance when they set up, and they’ve had to finance returns of over £45,000 without letting it affect their business. Could you afford that?


I've read so often recently that even major publishers rarely offer advances anymore, and then only because a book is viewed as a guaranteed 'hit' (if it's written by a celebrity or by the likes of Stephen King, for example); most of the time nowadays, publishers prefer to offer a percentage of sales - am I mistaken in this, though?

You’ve been misinformed. Advances are standard for most reputable publishers. A friend of mine has a novel coming out from Myrmidon, a tiny UK press, and she’s been paid a reasonable advance; I’m writing a gift-book for a small publisher right now, and have been paid a good advance—over £1,000. No one recognises my name. And I’ve never even met Stephen King.

There. I think I’m done. I hope it was a help, to Steve, Guy, and anyone else who might read through this whole thread. If anyone has stuck with me through all of my comments, they deserve a drink. As do I: cheers.

Old Hack
11-26-2008, 12:04 AM
PS: one thing I neglected to say was that do hope that Steve and Guy realise that all of this discussion is intended to help, rather than to harm; and that as a result, their business model improves. I wish them both the best of luck with their venture, and look forward to finding out what changes they've made as a result of the discussions here.

JeanneTGC
11-26-2008, 12:14 AM
I've read the entire thread and I just want to mention to Steve and Guy -- as has been mentioned over and over again -- that being on the Bewares and Background Checks thread is NOT being in jail, or being bad, or sent to the corner, or whatever else you two are telling yourselves it is.

If you want to browse, you'll see the names of some of the TOP agents and publishers listed here. No one from Donald Maass' office is coming onto their thread whining about being in this awful place. No one from Trident Media is, either. And so on. LEGITIMATE companies understand that there are going to be questions and that the answers to those questions will help show that they are indeed legitimate. It's the bad boys and girls who don't like scrutiny.

Since you both sound like you're on the good side, please stop whining (because, by now, that's what it reads like) about being on this thread, or in jail, or any of the other crybaby, poor poor pitiful me stuff you've been saying. This is where you belong. You called for submissions FAR too early and instead of having your post deleted, it was instead set up to send every interested party to this thread...where they can read all about your plans and make their own decisions based not on one post or a website, but on your communications back and forth. This was a favor, though you're apparently not yet clear on that fact.

More authors will see your thread here than they would in Paying Markets and because they'll have seen that you two do seem earnest and legitimate, versus scamming and sleazy, there is a better likelihood that you'd find interested parties as well.

Best of luck to you both in your endeavor, btw. And take a look at the other forums here -- you'll find a wealth of experience and knowledge that can only help you as you move your writing and your business forward.

herdon
11-26-2008, 01:24 AM
All disagreements aside, the fact remains that publishing companies started by would-be authors with no publishing experience don't work. It's like thinking a couple of house painters can start an art studio and effectively sell people's paintings.

My opinion is that a would-be author who has gone through every other choice including agents and legitimate publishers and feel they just must get their book published would be far better served just going to Lulu directly. At least in going that route they have full control over the book and could sign with another company in the future.

That's just my opinion of course.

caseyquinn
11-26-2008, 04:39 AM
Wow, while i have just lost a few hours of my life to reading this thread in the end, all i can say is good luck to the two of you. Lots of good information provided, i am sure the two of you will learn from in, grow as professionals and apply it to your business.

Good luck with the business venture!

triceretops
11-26-2008, 08:26 AM
I wanted to thank both of them and wish them luck, too. We only want the best for small press -- to many of us, it is our lifeblood.

Tri:)

Stlight
11-26-2008, 10:26 AM
Hope you get it together. If you do keep your artist, the covers were good, they deserve the best distribution.

Note in case you were confused upthread, warehouse and distributor are not the same even though some warehouse websites make it sound as though they are distributors. Don't be taken in, they mean it differently than you do.

StevenJ
11-26-2008, 10:41 AM
I think perhaps I haven't explained myself clearly during the past few days, so hopefully I can do that now & draw a line under this affair while Guy & I rethink virtually everything, due to the excellent guidance we've received from you all. So here goes:
--------------------------------------------

Recently, I took on the job of posting on a few writer's forums about Salvatore's forthcoming launch, the release of our website & the all-important Christmas book which has been produced to aid children's charities. This kind of free, minor publicity is the lifeblood of a small operation such as ours, and I imagined that we'd achieve some sales of A Writer's Christmas because of it, which pleased me because it's for such a good cause. So, when SP started to receive criticism here, I felt it was my duty to respond as best I could. Unfortunately, this was perhaps not the best idea, and here is why:

I am more or less an honorary partner in Salvatore Publishing. Guy persuaded me to take this position because: a) He's always admired my writing (Gawd help him, lol), b) He trusts me, and c) Because we were both enthused with the notion of creating an approachable, informal small publisher with whom writers would find it pleasurable to work; at the very least, we thought, we could help them and ourselves come to the attention of agents and/or bigger publishers.

I wrote the word 'unfortunately' above because, even though I've attempted to answer all questions posed at AW, I'm actually the wrong person to be doing this, as I lack even the business knowledge which my partner has; but Guy works all day, whereas I do not, so at this early stage of SP's existence, he isn't always on-hand 24/7. Nevertheless, despite my lack of qualification, I felt I had to defend my company and indirectly, my friend, because believe it not, our intentions were (and still are, of course) the best - we are not dishonest people & this perhaps explains why this thread has so vexed me personally, to the extent that I've been glued to this thread for nearly three days & am now writing this at six am. Dishonest people would not have bothered to fret over the criticism we've received - we'd have simply ignored the thread, changed our name(s) and looked elsewhere for 'suckers'; the notorious companies in the industry do this all the time, so I've read here. We've tried to handle the (deserved and undeserved) criticism with all the dignity and self-depreciation we could, even when some have been condescending (thankfully, the vast majority of you have been anything but, and we appreciate this).

Guy finances SP entirely on his own. I try to help in the best way I can, which includes posting 'adverts' for SP's books on boards such as AW, AuthorsDen and MWC. But this effort of mine is as nothing compared to the responsibilities Guy has, and I'm forever aware of this sobering fact. To give some clarification of our ill-gotten gains during our very brief time as a publisher, our first anthology made, I believe, the massive profit of...eight pounds, :D which was 'reinvested' in the company; our current book will benefit the charities mentioned in a previous post.

So, we're hardly 'raking it in', and all the while, Guy has the unhappy responsibility of purchasing ISBN numbers etc etc. Incidentally, over thirty authors have freely contributed short fiction to our two anthologies, and have been happy to do so because they were always aware why we didn't offer payment - they knew that we produced these books to find out the quality of printing available from certain companies (Lulu amongst them); because they were, on the whole, unpublished authors who longed to see their work in print; and because they wanted to help us make a start, as they believed & trusted in us. To sum up, there has been no deception at all, and if this is so hard to believe, I will gladly provide contact addresses so that the opinions of our authors (all of whom are listed on our website) can be gauged.

Being newcomers, we took the majority of our (admittedly flawed) business plan from a now-defunct small publisher named Skeleton Tree Press, to which we'd both submitted work in the recent past. STP's owner was always friendly & helpful to us, and gradually we both felt that perhaps we could run a similar business specifically aimed at people like us - new writers who needed a break of some kind. Perhaps Salvatore would fail, perhaps it would eventually become a proper business...we didn't know which, but we wanted to do something...

But as we've all seen, we simply don't know enough basic information about the publishing business. Your constructive criticism in this thread has not only been helpful, but sobering, and we will act on it; this includes such controversial matters as payment for short stories, advances etc. But please bear in mind that these things in particular will be addressed in a manner which suits us financially, as an admittedly small-time publisher. I say this because, as I stated, Guy finances SP - he works as a commercial manager, while I am on sick leave after the passing of my father, and so I don't have the money to contribute to the running of SP, sadly. The reason why I've questioned your comments about advances & other payments is not because SP is looking to scam authors at all - it's simply because we've been misinformed; because we adopted an unsuitable business model (because we didn't know any better); and because I'm always aware that I'm unable to help Guy financially. Now we do know better, and will adapt, because we have to if we're going to honour our original raison d'Ítre.

I hope this typically long-winded (but necessary) post explains things a little better. Certainly, we've been found to be amateurish - we've fully admitted this - and we hope to improve dramatically in this respect. But the last thing we are is dishonest. Our hearts are in the right place, and while that may mean nothing to those who value the utmost professionalism (in which case, Salvatore may never be the best option for you, sadly - it's likely that we'll never possess the resources & expertise of a major publisher), it does mean, however, that some writers may eventually benefit from our fundamental trait.

I've asked you to accept that our mistakes are the result of genuine naivety, and not deceit; at the very least, we intend to prove that to be true. I think it's clear by now, considering how able many writers are at exposing both scams and scammers, that Guy & I have no dubious connections or intentions (hell, I've never even sold anything on Ebay, let alone been a master conman, lol) - we genuinely are newcomers to the tough world of publishing. But we will learn in time, and will use that knowledge to become worthy publishers for those authors who need both a helping hand and a passionate ally.

Thanks for reading,

Steve

Marian Perera
11-26-2008, 02:22 PM
Because we were both enthused with the notion of creating an approachable, informal small publisher with whom writers would find it pleasurable to work; at the very least, we thought, we could help them and ourselves come to the attention of agents and/or bigger publishers.

Probably the only way a book printed by a POD publisher or a micropress would come to an agent's or larger publisher's attention is if it sells a large number of copies in the first few months. Otherwise, they aren't going to want it once SP uses up the rights of first publication.

And if a writer takes them a new book, mentioning a startup micropress in the query letter is unlikely to get the writer any further.


Nevertheless, despite my lack of qualification, I felt I had to defend my company and indirectly, my friend,

Steve, don't you think that a better use of your time - and a more productive step towards becoming a real publisher - would be to read up intensively about the publishing industry rather than continuing to try to assure everyone here of how great your intentions are?

For instance, I have no idea why you keep reiterating that you're not dishonest, when no one on this thread has called your press a scam and people have, in fact, said the same thing - that you're inexperienced rather than out to cheat authors.

At this point, your going on and on about how you're inexperienced but good-hearted means nothing, to me. It's just a milder form of the previous complaining about how SP was treated. Don't talk, do. Research, read what professionals in the industry have to say, raise funds for advances, stop sending releases to authors, get copyeditors, etc. That will get you somewhere quicker than defending yourself here.

As you said, draw a line under this affair, take a break from defending SP and do your homework. And I wish you the best in making your publisher a good choice for authors.

Momento Mori
11-26-2008, 02:22 PM
As a final note of advice to you, Steve and Guy, I would strongly recommend going to see a solicitor before you progress any further with your venture and work out an appropriate corporate structure. The reason I say this is because I've seen Steve refer to himself as a partner at the same time as I've seen references to a company. A partnership and a company are not the same thing and the risks associated with each of those structures are quite different.

A solicitor will be able to advise you more closely on this, but speaking as a lawyer myself (without offering legal advice), if you're serious about offering publishing services, I would urge you to make sure you have properly incorporated a company first and then vest the legal rights, finance and obligations in that company.

I say this because if you're funding this on a personal basis or you're assuming any obligations on a personal basis, then there is a risk that in the event everything goes wrong (and I hope it doesn't but it's something you need to consider), you will each be personally liable. If you have a properly set up company, it's only the company that goes under and your personal assets will remain untouched. If you find a legal firm with experience in publishing contracts, you should also be able to get some standard form publishing contracts prepared for you, which you'll be able to offer to prospective authors.

Best of luck to you both.

MM

guy cousins
11-26-2008, 02:56 PM
Why this is the right thing to do....

So I’ve had time to reflect over the last 24 hours and for the first time during this venture, I have asked myself the question: ‘am I doing the right thing?’

Our website seems to be sending out the wrong message. As a prospective publisher I don’t have answers to crucial questions at my fingertips, and I’m in danger of destroying other people’s confidence in me before I even start.

What am I doing? What the hell am I thinking?

But then I thought of all the people who have come to me and asked for help, and I can say with all confidence that I am doing the right thing (the wrong way maybe) but the right thing nevertheless. I hope the following explanation helps you to understand the type of people I want to help, and why.

First, let me tell you briefly ‘who I am.’ Like many unsigned writers I have a day job. I am fortunate that I hold a senior management roll in a large organization that deals with a number of high profile clients in London (no I’m not a banker). In addition, I believe I am a ‘competent’ writer. What do I mean by that? I mean that I have received training (I attended the London School of Journalism) and it’s in my blood – my father is a writer. In addition I have received one-to-one coaching from published authors as well as qualified editors. This year, I self-published my first novel. Why I chose to self-publish is a story in itself, but suffice to say that I developed a mistrust of the publishing industry after I was ‘scammed’ myself. So I decided to become master of my destiny. Whether my work sells or not is another matter, but at least it’s not in the hands of some greasy rogue.

Steve endured the same experience, and as two writers who respect each others work we decided we weren’t going to take any more of this crap and do something about it.
Yep, I know, hands up, we’re doing it all wrong. But let me finish, by telling you why this is still the right thing to do. The following is a true story:

I walk into our London office one morning armed with my laptop, diary, and a sneaky batch of The Horde (my novel) in my briefcase. I’m here to work, but I’m also here to sell my book. Mike from accounts wanders past and I treat him to a ‘good morning’ grin.
‘Do you read thrillers Mike?’
Mike looks puzzled. ‘Err yeah… why? Have you got something you recommend?’
‘Sure I do.’ I pull out a copy of The horde from my case and hand it to him.
He still looks puzzled and so I explain it’s my book.
‘Christ! You wrote a book?’
He stares at me in disbelief, his face lifts and I know all I’ve got to do is reel him in and bingo - I’ve got a sale. My sales pitch is in mid-flow when he stops me….
‘I’ve written a book too,’ he says.
At this point Mike is twitching like an excited child. The guy is in his mid-forties and has less hair than I do, but all of a sudden he loses thirty years as he explains what his book is all about. He talks so fast that I struggle to keep up, and then without warning he dashes off to his desk to retrieve his book. Now I’m looking around the office wondering if anyone else here is a closet writer.
‘Everyone knows about it,’ Mike says as he thrusts his manuscript into my hands. ‘It took me three years to complete.’
‘Three years!’
‘Yeah… what do you think?’
Mike’s manuscript turns out to be a children’s book. A book about a dragon called ‘Ernie.’ But it’s more than just a story. Every page of text is accompanied by a detailed drawing, all beautifully done. I’m not kidding, this guy’s work truly knocked me back. Along with the manuscript he also has a batch of letters written by a class of eight-year olds telling Mike how much they loved his story.
‘I sometimes help out at the local school,’ he explains. ‘I read the kids my stuff and they loved it.’
‘Have you tried getting it published?’ I ask him.
His shoulders slump and he stares at the floor. ‘I spent two years trying but no one wants it. I looked at self-publishing, but I don’t know who to trust, and so many of these companies want huge sums of money up front. I can’t afford it.’
I go on to tell Mike how he can get his book published at a relatively low cost, although the retail price might prove a little expensive. He seems unimpressed. He turns my book over in his hands and flips open the cover. ‘Can you do it for me?’ he asks.
I won’t bore you with entire conversation because this thread has gone on long enough. Let me say despite all my objections, Mike insisted he wanted me to get his book published. I told him about Salvatore, but that I didn’t have everything set up and I wasn’t sure that a children’s book was my area of expertise. And even if it was, I wasn’t sure I could distribute it widely enough to make it a success. Despite all my concerns, Mike still wanted me to help him.
This is not an isolated incident. I can honestly say that the criticisms leveled at Salvatore have actually helped me to come up with a far better idea of how I should be approaching this. I now have a clearer picture of how I can help people like Mike, and you have helped me do that.
I’ve said enough for now. I just want to say thanks for your guidance.

Oh yeah, and Mike did buy a copy of my book.

eqb
11-26-2008, 05:31 PM
Let me say despite all my objections, Mike insisted he wanted me to get his book published. I told him about Salvatore, but that I didnít have everything set up and I wasnít sure that a childrenís book was my area of expertise. And even if it was, I wasnít sure I could distribute it widely enough to make it a success. Despite all my concerns, Mike still wanted me to help him.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with a micro-press run as a cooperative venture.

But you and your authors need to be clear that a sale to SP won't get the attention of agents or larger publishers, and that ultimately, their circle of readers will be limited to friends and family.

victoriastrauss
11-26-2008, 07:28 PM
Guy and Steve, I think that as long as you are completely upfront about your business model (on your website), and completely clear about the differences between that business model and commercial publishing (in your own minds), you'll do fine and no one will have a problem with Salvatore Publishing.

It's when micropresses are confused about basic publishing terms and issues, or present themselves as giving new authors a chance to [pick one] build a platform,/come to the attention of agents/get a foot in the door, that people like us start to get skeptical.

Also, I think it's part of a micropress's job to make clear to aspiring authors (who are often not just un-knowledgeable about the realities of publishing, but blinded by hope and frustration) exactly how a micropress differs from a larger commercial publisher, and the challenges and limitations of choosing to publish in this way. Many writers simply don't understand that there's a difference, or think that they can make up the difference by working really hard post-publication. If a micropress is what they want, that's fine, but they need to know going in what the deal is.

Once again, no one has accused either of you of being shady or disreputable. To the contrary--we respect your willingness to listen and learn from the comments in this thread. So please, let's get past the dishonesty thing!

- Victoria

M.R.J. Le Blanc
11-28-2008, 03:38 AM
After reading the whole thread (yup, all six pages!) I just want to say that I too hope you guys work out the kinks and create something great. As a newbie to AW, my first though seeing publishers/agents/etc in this section of the forum has never given me the first reaction of 'uh-oh, they're all spammers' or any negative reaction. What I saw were people discussing certain publishers and agents. To make sure they were making the right choices. And when someone from said publisher or agent comes out and clears the matters I can respect that. Reading through this thread I saw a case of 'good intention, bad delivery' and I'm glad you guys took away some positive stuff from it all. Looking forward to hearing about you guys getting established.

Khazarkhum
11-28-2008, 12:35 PM
Of all the things that have been said in this thread, the one thing that Guy & Steve must do is take the advice of Memento Mori & speak with an attorney. It will save endless hours of frustration, heartache & possibly avoid financial disaster.

It won't be free, but in the long run it will be priceless.

guy cousins
11-28-2008, 01:42 PM
Hi everyone,
I'm still checking this thread for further nuggets of advice. We have now posted a message on our website saying that we hope to be open to submissions during the Summer of 2009. That gives us the best part of a year to iron out all these issues and ensure we launch with a well thought out strategy.
We will continue with our community writing projects which cater for people who know us (friends basically), but we won't approach the general public until our business case is sound.

Thanks once again.;)

petec
11-28-2008, 03:03 PM
I wish you all the luck with your enterprise.Do come back once in a while to let us know how things are going.
We are also here if once in a while you need to let off steam.Some of the other threads here are good for that

Pete

guy cousins
11-28-2008, 04:43 PM
Hi Petec,
Strangely, I didn't even know about this website until this week, and I'm glad I joined. There's a lot of people here, who are a lot closer to the industry than I am, and they have proved to be a great resource to tap into.

dobiwon
05-03-2009, 10:57 PM
Bump!

I've just read through all six pages of this this thread, and I wonder...

It's now well into 2009. Several posts said that changes were going to be made to Salvatore Publishing early in 2009. Have they happened? What's the latest?

I appreciate the honesty and candidness that Steve and Guy displayed, and I'm sincerely interested in knowing where SP has gone in the last six months.

guy cousins
05-06-2009, 08:44 PM
Hi Don,
We have made progress but haven't made a big deal of it as yet. Still early stages in the process (and still lots of mistakes to be made I guess). You can view the new website on www.salvatorepublishing.com (http://www.salvatorepublishing.com). Please feel free to browse but I recommend that writers do not approach us just yet because this business is still 'work in progress'.

Guy

xXFireSpiritXx
05-07-2009, 08:55 AM
I have just read through all six pages of this thread, wow, an amazing feat. As a writer with three projects almost to the submission phase, I am sorry, but I would be very hesitant to submit based on your site alone.

Now I may be completely wrong here, but if your business is still a "work in progress" wouldn't it be best to not have a site functional yet? I see you are not accepting submissions for novels, which is good, but I still feel the site comes off as "Hey, we love books so we decided to be publishers!"

Not the best vibe...sorry not trying to be harsh just honest.:Shrug:

guy cousins
05-07-2009, 01:44 PM
Hi Jason,
Actually, your impression isn't far from the truth. We do love books and we love writing, hence we decided to take it a step further. We basically evolved from two online writing communities - My Writer's Circle, and Short Story Library. We acknowledged the demands from new writers on these sites to provide a platform for their short stories. This has escalated and we are now publishing work from more experienced members. Indeed, one of our authors has sixty non-fiction books to his name. At the moment we publish work by writers we know. So by 'work in progress' I mean we are not ready to take submissions from writers like yourself. I doubt we could satisfy your ambitions at this stage of our development because we have no track record and we operate on a tight budget. It would be wrong for me to try and sell Salvatore to you, but I saw Don's remarks and thought it polite to respond. Indeed, many of the changes we made are a direct result of the comments we received on this thread. We will continue to build albeit quietly and steadily until we have something to shout about.

Guy

EFCollins
05-07-2009, 10:38 PM
Enthusiasm is never a bad thing, but when publishing is concerned, it's best to air on the side of caution. The fact that you and your coworkers are able to see the truth within the statements made here on B&BC actually speaks volumes to me. Seeing a publication taken from enthusiastic newbies to thoughtful businessmen/women all because of AW is a good thing. Knowing that you are getting sound advice from the very people you aspire to be like tells something about the steps your establishment is willing to make to be successful and the ability you have to listen when something can be recognized as "smart". All in all, I'd say you've made the right decision to hold off on taking new projects right now. Building your business credentials is especially important here, as we writers do tend to look at things like sales when scoping out a publisher. I'm not a published author, I'm not an editor or literary agent. But because of this place, I think I may be published eventually. I feel I made an informed decision to take my writing from "good" to "stellar" (Okay, I haven't reached "stellar yet, but I can feel it.... my sap is rising, I tell you) before I go on to try and publish again. I still sub short work out, but my longer novels and novellas are going into the OR because that is where they need to be. I came to this conclusion after I started posting on AW. It's nice to see that while some new publisher type people may get put in the interrogation room, they're just as willing to learn as the rest of us. I've seen a couple of them that thought the AW people were out to get them, but for the most part, you've been open to discussions. So, that's a mark up for Salvatore. Good luck.

CaoPaux
01-28-2010, 09:50 AM
Domain is gone, but site still visible at: http://174.120.17.218/~sp/index.html. According to Lulu storefront (http://stores.lulu.com/guycousins), last book was published May '09.

ETA: put out a couple Kindle editions in '11, but no further activity.