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Mustangpilot
12-27-2011, 03:59 AM
I have finished my novel and have a publisher that is intersted in publishing it. They have sent me a contract to sign but I'm not sure about it. They say they are a "Co-op" publisher and want cash from me to start the process. Is this a new thing or am I getting scamed?

Perks
12-27-2011, 04:03 AM
Most likely a scam. Did you research that particular publisher on our Bewares & Background Checks board?
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22

Buffysquirrel
12-27-2011, 04:06 AM
Co-op publishing is another word for vanity publishing. Whether or not it's a scam is debatable; they may perform the contract to the letter for all we know. But you want to think carefully about whether this is a road you want to go down. If you pay them to publish your book, it's unlikely it'll appear in book shops, where most books are still sold. It's unlikely the publisher will bother to promote it. Readers aren't their customers; authors are.

Perks
12-27-2011, 04:16 AM
You're right. I shouldn't say "probably" as to it being a scam. It's just now with so many option available, it's hard to justify a vanity publisher.

thothguard51
12-27-2011, 04:22 AM
Depends on your goals.

If you want a traditional commercial publishing credit, then a co-op is not the way to go. It is considered a form of vanity publishing.

Lots of co-ops are a fronts for self publishing and/or scams. Hard to tell about this particular publisher since you did not list them.

Ask this, what is the publisher going to do for the money you pay up front?

Editing? If so, who are their editors and what professional experience do they have?

Cover design and artwork? Original artwork or stock images?

Do they stock your book in bookstores, as in on the shelves and not just list them for the bookstore to order?

What kind of publishing do they offer? E-books, print books, and do they use pod or offset printing?

What is the terms of the contract? How many years and what is the cancel clause like. What do they say about returning your rights?

What royalty do they offer? Since you are paying them to get started I would think 50% would be reasonable, but then, is that off of list or net? Also, 50% of nothing is still nothing, as in what is their verifiable track record for book sales?

If you really want to go this route, save the money and self publish. You can do all the work yourself, or hire others to help you, and you will know where the money went.

Remember Yogi's law; the money flows to the author...

jaksen
12-27-2011, 06:16 AM
The first thing I want to say is: omg don't do this. Search around AW, read the various threads on vanity publishing, self-publishing, traditional publishing and so on. (There are some AW writers who are doing okay with self-publishing.) Go to the Bewares section and research this company you're considering.

Never in a million-zillion years would I go with a vanity or co-op publisher. Never never never!

L.C. Blackwell
12-27-2011, 08:29 AM
O...kay......

The first place you need to start is here. (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/) This is the blog for Writer Beware, and also has a link to their very valuable website, http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/. After you've familiarized yourself with the information there--and there's a lot of it--scroll down the right-hand sidebar of the blog, and click on the link to Predators and Editors. This is more information that you can use to educate and protect yourself.

Without looking at the contract offered you, I can't tell for sure, but there's a good chance if you sign it unaware of the pitfalls, you will be a very sorry cookie.

dangerousbill
12-27-2011, 10:40 AM
Is this a new thing or am I getting scamed?

It's a scam. A co-op publisher wouldn't approach you in this way.

The specific meaning of a co-op publisher is a group of people who band together to publish and promote each other's work. However, all the links I find on Google are just garden-variety subsidy, or vanity, publishers.

Old Hack
12-27-2011, 11:18 AM
Mustang, what is the name of this publisher? If you tell us, we're going to be able to give you better, more specific advice.

Mustangpilot
12-27-2011, 10:51 PM
The name of the publisher is Port Hole Publishing in Florence, Oregon. It's a one person operation and combines a rare book store with publishing. She seems to be on the up and up.

Incidently, I'm back at the Watercooler after a two year absence. I spent the time refining the first novel, Golden Eye Transition, and it's sequel. No luck in selling it. Meanwhile, I wrote a novel describing the efforts at world conquest by Muslims and the patriot push back after they have practically destroyed Europe and North America. This is the one the Publisher is interested in.

Mustangpilot
12-27-2011, 11:06 PM
Okay. I have read some of the links sent in response to my questions. Thank you all.

I have been offered 15% royalty on the first 30,000 books sold, and an increasing amout there after. That seems low to me especially since I'm putting up alot of cash which would probably cover the cost of printing a ton of books. I have a pretty good idea of the cost of printing from my experience as editor of an in house magazine for an international airplane club.

Also, the book, "the Last Taliban Caliphate" is in final edit, line by line.

Old Hack
12-27-2011, 11:06 PM
Adding link:

Port Hole Publications (http://www.portholepublications.com/)

Old Hack
12-27-2011, 11:23 PM
Okay. I have read some of the links sent in response to my questions. Thank you all.

I have been offered 15% royalty on the first 30,000 books sold, and an increasing amout there after. That seems low to me especially since I'm putting up alot of cash which would probably cover the cost of printing a ton of books. I have a pretty good idea of the cost of printing from my experience as editor of an in house magazine for an international airplane club.

Also, the book, "the Last Taliban Caliphate" is in final edit, line by line.

I really can't see how this publisher is doing anything for you that you couldn't do for yourself.

If you want to pay for your own publication, why not self-publish and keep all the proceeds for yourself instead of getting 15%?

If you want to have a trade publisher do everything for you, why not follow that path instead?

This option seems to me to be the worst of both worlds.

Buffysquirrel
12-27-2011, 11:28 PM
What's the plan for selling those 30,000 books? What bookshops will the book be shelved at? If they say the book will be 'available to order' then that probably means it won't be on the shelf. If it's not on the shelf, how do they propose bringing it to readers' attention? If they say they'll send out review copies, find out which venues and go see if they've ever reviewed any of the publisher's books. If not, they probably won't review yours, either.

job
12-27-2011, 11:31 PM
since I'm putting up alot of cash which would probably cover the cost of printing a ton of books.


From the price of the books, it looks like these are POD editions.
You can do POD yourself, probably much cheaper than this operation.

I can't think this is the best deal available. I'd try for a royalty-paying publisher first. Then I'd consider self-publishing or e-publishing.

jjdebenedictis
12-27-2011, 11:38 PM
On what basis are you saying she's on the up-and-up? A pretty website doesn't mean anything.

A quick check on Preditors and Editors, and Writer Beware, doesn't turn up anything for Port Hole Publishing, BUT:

Ellen Traylor, the owner of Port Hole Publishing, is using the company to publish her own books. That's fine, but one of her previous publishers is listed as Thomas Nelson, a vanity Christian publisher, whom Preditors and Editors list as "not recommended".

In other words, this woman is NOT an expert. She got sucked in by a vanity publisher herself, and now she's self-publishing. Why would you trust her as your publisher? Are there any safeguards at all to prevent her making money off you without you making any money?

As has been mentioned in this thread, you can self-publish on Smashwords and Kindle for free. All it takes is effort. And if you do, you don't have to worry about someone taking your money and screwing with your dreams.

Terie
12-27-2011, 11:56 PM
Ellen Traylor, the owner of Port Hole Publishing, is using the company to publish her own books. That's fine, but one of her previous publishers is listed as Thomas Nelson, a vanity Christian publisher, whom Preditors and Editors list as "not recommended".

Thomas Nelson is not a vanity Christian publisher; it's a commercial Christian publisher. It has a vanity division called 'Westbow', which is what caused it to be listed (justifibly) as 'not recommended' at P&E. Books published by Thomas Nelson should not be assumed to be vanity books, especially those published before Westbow was created.

This doesn't mean that co-op is a good idea for anyone other than the publisher. It's just to set the facts straight.

Ms Traylor's commercial Christian publications also include at least one book by Tyndale. It looks, at the glance I took, like she has a strong pubication history with major commercial Christian publishers. Having a strong backlist as an author doesn't, in and of itself, qualify someone to publish other people's work. There is a lot more to the business of publishing than writing books.

jjdebenedictis
12-28-2011, 12:02 AM
Thomas Nelson is not a vanity Christian publisher; it's a commercial Christian publisher. It has a vanity division called 'Westbow'.Ah, my apologies. I just did a quick check on P&E. Thanks for clarifying!

James D. Macdonald
12-28-2011, 03:02 AM
They say they are a "Co-op" publisher and want cash from me to start the process.

"Co-op" is a euphemism for "vanity press." The cash that you send will be more than enough for them to publish the book and show a profit on it.



Is this a new thing or am I getting scamed?

It's a very old thing indeed. I won't say "scam," but I will say a very, very bad idea. Their business plan is to sell your books to no one but you.

DreamWeaver
12-28-2011, 06:30 AM
I have been offered 15% royalty on the first 30,000 books soldI'm willing to bet Vegas-style money that the number of "co-op" published titles, by any and all co-op publishers, that have sold 30,000 copies can be counted on the fingers of one hand. That's just marketing talk aimed at the author.

It's kind of like a used-car dealer implying the Ford Fiesta one is looking at could go head-to-head with a Porsche if one took it to track day at the circuit. Sure, if it were set up by the Ford racing team and driven by Ken Block it could happen, and I'd *love* to see it. But sold by Corner Used Car Lot with no factory team? Unlikely doesn't seem to cover it.

In addition if they really expected to sell 30,000 books they'd be printing offset, not POD. POD is not cost-effective for those numbers.



*OK, it's a Subaru, but I'm sure he does just as well in the Ford Fiesta he's now switched to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFF2bkiHNVQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFF2bkiHNVQ)

DaveKuzminski
12-28-2011, 05:53 PM
P&E's recommendations are not based on whether a publisher is vanity or not. We have specific guidelines which we try to follow and one of the things guaranteed to gain a "not recommended" is to require authors to submit through another company that charges a fee. That occurs a lot for Christian publishers. It may not be the case in Nelson's case, but it is one that I recall without my records at hand.

Terie
12-28-2011, 05:57 PM
P&E's recommendations are not based on whether a publisher is vanity or not. We have specific guidelines which we try to follow and one of the things guaranteed to gain a "not recommended" is to require authors to submit through another company that charges a fee. That occurs a lot for Christian publishers. It may not be the case in Nelson's case, but it is one that I recall without my records at hand.

IIRC (and I might not be recalling correctly!) it's because Thomas Nelson's rejection letters included a referral to their vanity arm, Westbow.

But none of this has anything to do with Port Hole or its founder.

Mustangpilot
12-29-2011, 01:42 AM
Thanks, All.
You have given me a lot of grist for the mill. I will proceed carefully, ask a lot of questions and go from there.
Thanks very much.
Happy New Year.