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Old Hack
01-02-2012, 11:39 AM
I've been asked if New Dawn Publishers Ltd (http://www.newdawnpublishersltd.co.uk/) is a good press to submit to.

From their website:


New Dawn Publishers Ltd is a new fiction publishing house, one which focuses on giving student and graduate authors the opportunity they deserve.

Here at New Dawn Publishers, we don't really care whether your work is solicited by a literary agent or not. Instead, we only accept submissions from those who have the qualifications, or those working towards acquiring them. As the only publisher in the UK to implement such a policy, we believe that the investment of time and effort to further one's self and improve the standard of one's work deserves to be rewarded.

What I see is a publisher which gives no information about their experiences or successes in publishing; a website focussed almost entirely on attracting writers to submit, with very little effort put into selling the books they publish, and a competition (http://www.newdawnpublishersltd.co.uk/best-and-brightest.php) which is going to publish a stack of anthologies with only one writer ever getting paid for their work--and then, even if they win the entire competition, the prize money is only 200.

I wouldn't even consider them (and yes, I have an MA in creative writing so I am "qualified"). What does everyone else think?

Scribhneoir
01-02-2012, 12:08 PM
Well, the BEST & BRIGHTEST competition will be open to entries until the deadline of Friday 13th May 2012. After judging all of the entries on a regional basis, anthologies of the regional shortlists will be compiled and published by the 1st of June

Doesn't look like they're putting much effort into this dubious contest, either, taking a whole . . . <checks calendar> . . . 18 days to not only judge all entries, but publish the shortlist, too.

I vote "run away."

Terie
01-02-2012, 01:02 PM
Ah. The old pretension of confusing academic qualifications with actual talent and skill. It's bad enough in the business/corporate world. Now someone wants to impose it on the arts, too?

One can have one without the other.

The plain fact is that most people can't write a publishable novel or short story. This is true of most students and graduates, too.

What's also true is that plenty of people without academic qualifications CAN write publishable novels and short stories.

(Full disclosure: I have a BA and a post-grad certificate, which means that, like Old Hack, I'm 'qualified'. So this isn't me grousing about personally being excluded.)

frimble3
01-02-2012, 01:10 PM
Yeah, but I'll bet there's a lot of graduates of writing programs who thought it would give them a leg-up in getting their work published. Now, they're sitting back, disappointed that it wasn't a quick ticket to the world of publication, and they're the market for this outfit, that promises to value their qualifications.
Another outfit that preys on people's dreams? Only this time, they know the potential customers have money, 'cause they could pay for the courses.

aliceshortcake
01-02-2012, 03:45 PM
That's a spectacularly ugly website. New Dawn owes me 200 for retinal damage.

James D. Macdonald
01-02-2012, 07:32 PM
After all, Creative Writing degrees have been offered at several institutions across the UK for so long now, but when it comes down to it, the wider publishing industry still seems to percieve these qualifications to be barely worth the paper that the award certificates are printed on.

That's because ... they aren't. The slushpiles of New York (and presumably London) are awash with unreadable novels from folks with creative writing degrees. There is one, and only one, qualification out there: The ability to write an entertaining story. That's a qualification that no academic institution can grant.


Question for Old Hack: Is percieve the British spelling of perceive?

Stacia Kane
01-02-2012, 07:45 PM
That's because ... they aren't. The slushpiles of New York (and presumably London) are awash with unreadable novels from folks with creative writing degrees. There is one, and only one, qualification out there: The ability to write an entertaining story. That's a qualification that no academic institution can grant.




QFT.

shaldna
01-02-2012, 08:02 PM
As someone with a degree in Literature and studying for an MA in creative writing - I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole

priceless1
01-02-2012, 08:04 PM
Why do I develop an eye twitch when I see any publisher talk about giving "authors the chance they deserve"?

Terie
01-02-2012, 08:34 PM
Question for Old Hack: Is percieve the British spelling of perceive?

I'm not Old Hack, but I can answer: No, it's not. :)

LillyPu
01-02-2012, 09:07 PM
Most MFA programs also are associated with putting out a literary journal. Although the course is not a requirement, many students take their turn working with submissions. Reality sets in when the student finds out that most of the stories in the journals are solicited rather than lifted from the slushpile. And whenever a story by an unknown writer is selected from the slushpile, it's usually the cream of the crop. An hour or two (of these classes) is often devoted to the writers' very slim chance of ever getting published, the harsh realities, etc. Having said that, a degree does not make one exempt from having stars in their eyes and being duped, signing with less than desirable presses, or failing to detect a scam.

aliceshortcake
01-02-2012, 09:27 PM
The Mighty Google tells me that the director of New Dawn Publishers is Mr Sundeep Singh Parhar, who runs the company from his home in Slough, Berkshire. He has a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of North London.

There's some biographical info about Mr Parhar here: http://www.younoodle.com/people/sundeep_singh_parhar

The profile was posted in 2009, at which time Mr Parhar was


...currently looking to get first novel published to get start-up capital for first company, 'Icycle'.

I was unable to find anything about either 'Icycle' or his first novel, Turbulence.

More info about NDP here:

:
Publishes: Fiction;
Areas include: Adventure; Crime; Drama; Fantasy; Horror; Humour; Literature; Mystery; Romance; Sci-Fi; Short Stories; Suspense; Thrillers;
Markets: Adult; Family; YouthSubmissions policy:
Submissions:Actively seeking new material. This publisher welcomes unsolicited MSS. Both queries and submissions by email are accepted. Fees:
Fees: This publisher charges authors a fee in some circumstances.
Royalties:15>20% monthly + performance-based bonusesYear founded

http://www.firstwriter.com/publishers/details.cgi?RecordNumber=1468

I'm sure we're all dying to find out in which circumstances authors are charged a fee. Perhaps Mr Parhar will pop in to enlighten us.

Richard White
01-03-2012, 12:52 AM
Why do I develop an eye twitch when I see any publisher talk about giving "authors the chance they deserve"?

I was just getting ready to make the same comment.

Maybe it's the "Publish America Syndrome" that I automatically get the twitches around, but that term usually means, "give people's books a chance to make ME money rather than the authors."

NicoleJLeBoeuf
01-03-2012, 06:00 AM
Why do I develop an eye twitch when I see any publisher talk about giving "authors the chance they deserve"?
Can't speak for your eyes, but mine develop twitches because the statement is based on a tangle of faulty unstated premises. The speaker either doesn't know much about the publishing industry -- or hopes that their audience doesn't.

Momento Mori
01-03-2012, 03:14 PM
New Dawn Publishers Limited:
Have you ever taken a course in Creative Writing, or are you enrolled on one right now?

Yes. I have an MA in Creative Writing and graduated top of my class with a Distinction.


New Dawn Publishers Limited:
Have you ever thought of taking it up as a career?

You mean, like, getting paid for my writing? Because I don't see anything on your website to suggest you actually pay up front.


New Dawn Publishers Limited:
Or are you just looking to make some additional income to pay off your student debts, by getting a particularly creative well-received piece of coursework into print?

Theres's something really scummy about playing on people's fears of student debt and it's particularly disgusting that New Dawn are suggesting that by publishing you can pay all of it off.


New Dawn Publishers Limited:
As any aspiring professional author will soon find out, getting on the career ladder is no walk in the park. This isn't helped by the two 'default' submissions policies employed by all other fiction publishers in the UK- either the ultra-exclusionist, risk-averse approach of only accepting manuscripts solicited by a literary agent, or the 'come-on-down' approach of accepting unsolicited manuscripts from anyone who can be bothered to send it. But why should this be the case?

Erm ... because it works? Literary agents work as a filter for publishers so that they know work has been assessed once for quality and saleability.


New Dawn Publishers Limited:
Creative Writing degrees have been offered in institutions across the U.K for so many decades- why does the publishing industry still decry these qualifications to be all but worthless?

The first creative writing degree in the UK was set up in the 1970s at East Anglia University and it's widely acknowledged to have produced some fine writers (including Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro and Zadie Smith). However, the act of completing a MA in Creative Writing does not by itself mean that you've produced a publishable manuscript.

Of the 14 people in my graduating year, 5 people got agents and so far, only 2 have got book deals.

The MA in Creative Writing can be a useful qualification to cite in a query letter, but it doesn't mean your manuscript is any damn good. Added to this is the fact that not all Creative Writing courses in the UK focus on novel writing or indeed require you to complete a full novel. Some require you to produce short stories, poetry and prose extracts in order to pass - all good skills, but the ability to write a good poem doesn't mean you've got a good novel.


New Dawn Publishers Limited:
Here at New Dawn Publishers, we're looking to change the way things work in the world of fiction publishing, trailblazing towards a better, fairer system

The system's already perfectly fair. If you've got a good book, you can get a publishing deal.


New Dawn Publishers Limited:
In our book, if you have the qualifications in, or relating to the field of Creative Writing, or you're currently working towards getting them, that's enough.

No it isn't.


New Dawn Publishers Limited:
Your work doesn't have to be solicited by an agent; in fact, we'd much rather it wasn't, because in our opinion, both publishers and authors lose more royalties that way.

And this load of twaddle right here is proof positive that New Dawn Publishers have no fricking clue what publishing really is.

How does the payment of royalties through an agent cost a publisher more money? The royalty payment is whatever is set out in the contract and the agent deducts their commission before paying it on to the author. The publisher doesn't pay the agent more money.

Also, note that New Dawn only talks about royalties. This is because they're not paying you an advance and as such, have no cash tied up in advance in your book which would incentivise them to make it a success.


New Dawn Publishers Limited:
But because we don't just accept submissions from anyone, we can give each and every submission the time and due consideration it deserves before making the crucial decision whether or not to take it on.

And how do you prove that the people submitting to you have the Creative Writing qualifications you demand? Do you demand to see enrollment letters or graduate certificates?

I suggest to you, with respect, that this is a load of old bollocks.

I've seen publishers like this before. Usually they target Creative Writing course directors who forward on details of their competition to students in case it's of interest. I used to get copied in on these emails for my alma mater course, but got lopped off when I started pointing out to students what a load of crap they were.

MM

shaldna
01-03-2012, 04:32 PM
They seems to only have two books in print - both very differnt genres. And both with pretty damn awful covers.

Perks
01-03-2012, 06:07 PM
Ah. The old pretension of confusing academic qualifications with actual talent and skill. It's bad enough in the business/corporate world. Now someone wants to impose it on the arts, too?

One can have one without the other.

I'm doomed.

aliceshortcake
01-03-2012, 06:53 PM
NDP will accept all types of fiction except poetry. I wonder if Mr Parhar has any plans to publish his own Turbulence, which according to his younoodle.com profile was the first book in a series of five?

It would be nice to know under which circumstances authors are charged a fee. And what exactly does this mean?


Royalties:15>20% monthly + performance-based bonuses

James D. Macdonald
01-04-2012, 12:20 AM
Here are the steps that I see:

1) Fellow gets a degree in Creative Writing.

2) Discovers that no one wants his novel anyway.

3) Decides publishing is broken; founds new publisher.

We've seen this story (or a variation on it) a thousand times before, and never with a happy ending. I suggest moving on.

Old Hack
01-04-2012, 12:54 AM
There's a variation on the story which is just as Uncle Jim has outlined above, only it misses off part (1). It's just as sad, and just as likely to end badly.

James D. Macdonald
01-04-2012, 06:26 AM
Yeah, there are all kinds of variations on Step 1.

Sometimes it's 1) Fellow is successful business executive. Sometimes it's 1) Fellow has a Theory of What Makes the Perfect Compelling Novel. Sometimes it's 1) All of the Fellow's Chums tell him that he's Very Creative.

If step 2, as above, is followed by step 3, as above, the results are generally unhappy.

newdawnpublisher
01-05-2012, 02:21 AM
Hi everyone. I am Sundeep Parhar, MD of New Dawn Publishers, and after finding out about this thread I decided to come and clear a few things up.

I can assure people that, while our website may at first glance appear to be geared towards attracting authors rather than readers, we do put all the effort we can into getting our authors' books out there in the marketplace. With the competition we're running, every author we publish, at least 100 writers in all, will all be paid for their work- through royalties rather than with advance payments, but no-one offers advance payments when publishing anthologies. And given that major retailers have already expressed interest in stocking the competition's anthologies, those potential royalty payments shouldn't be scoffed at.

Also worth mentioning is that I haven't been a member of firstwriter.com for at least a year, and the publishers' profile cited is now out of date. We no longer charge fees in any circumstances- and to clarify the term 'performance-based bonuses', it refers to our policy of increasing the royalties we pay our authors once a specified number of copies have been sold.

For the competition, it is also worth mentioning that entries are being judged continuously even now. The cover designs of the anthologies themselves has already been carried out, advertising and marketing will begin months beforehand, and all that we will actually need to do in the eighteen days after we stop taking entries (or probably a fortnight, if we take into account how long postal entries will take to get to us) is just the printing and distribution of the anthologies.

Something else from which several people seem to have derived entirely the wrong impression, and perhaps understandably so, was our prior statement that-
...if you have the qualifications in, or relating to the field of Creative Writing, or you're currently working towards getting them, that's enough.I acknowledge that this was somewhat misleading, and the statement has now been changed to clarify matters. Of course, not every person who takes a creative writing degree will be capable of writing a good novel, and we don't want anyone to get the impression that we will publish anyone who sends their work to us so long as they're a student or a graduate. Every author who submits their work to us will 'get the chance they deserve', but they have to deserve that chance to get it. It's also worth bearing in mind that not every person who has a literary agent will have a publishable book either. Terie, I agree that you don't have to have qualifications to have talent, but talent undoubtedly makes it easier to obtain qualifications; and as for the other part, isn't improving your skills supposed to be what higher education is all about?

Momento Mori- I sincerely apologise if you were angered or frustrated by our website, and you brought a number of points forward which needed to be answered. We didn't intend to give the impression that publishing will write off all your student debts (especially not in the U.K nowadays, after the tuition fee hike), but surely the added income would help towards it? The statement-

'...both publishers and authors lose more royalties that way'
-was poorly worded, and written with the idealistic view that, with the royalties divided between two parties, we would have a moral obligation to pay the author higher royalties to compensate for this. Of course, you'd be hard-pressed to find any for-profit publisher that would think that way, that would give the author's lower effective royalties a second thought; but I'd very much like to count our publishing house as one of the few ones that would.

As you can see, we have only found two novels worthy of putting into print so far. As such, with our short list of titles, we don't need the added incentive of having cash tied up in a novel to do all we can to make it a success. Many people have already drawn attention to the fact that I have already completed a novel myself, and that that novel, Turbulence, is still unpublished. If I wanted to, I could have published it myself, through my own publishing house- but New Dawn Publishers is not a glorified self-publisher, or a vanity publisher. We're not saying that publishing is broken, or that the system doesn't work; we're just saying that another system, our system, has a chance of working as well.

veinglory
01-05-2012, 02:29 AM
Welcome to the forums and thanks for jumping in :) -- I would take issue with your notion that all anthologies are paid on a royalties-only model (if I interpret you correctly). Just in the last year I have received advance+royalties, royalties only and flat fee only by anthology editors/publishers (depending on who was running the show). You can normally find examples of all three on market listings like Duotrope.

Momento Mori
01-05-2012, 02:55 AM
Hi, Sundeep, and welcome to AW.


newdawnpublisher:
With the competition we're running, every author we publish, at least 100 writers in all, will all be paid for their work- through royalties rather than with advance payments, but no-one offers advance payments when publishing anthologies.

Sorry but it isn't true that "no one" pays advances for publishing anthologies. Commercial publishers like Harper Collins, Penguin, Macmillan and so on do pay an advance for the story and royalties on the same. I'm reading a steampunk anthology put out by Walker Books and know the authors got paid for their stories up front.

In any event, there's an active short story market out there that pays authors for stories, will have clear reversion rights so the author can resell and in some cases, count as a professional credit for organisations like the MWA. For short story writers, it's usually better to go down that route that submitting to a new publisher with little or no track record in selling anthologies or other books.


newdawnpublisher:
And given that major retailers have already expressed interest in stocking the competition's anthologies, those potential royalty payments shouldn't be scoffed at.

Cool. Which retailers? How close are you to putting a distribution deal in place? What's your first print run going to look like to achieve that distribution deal? What sort of discount are they asking for? What kind of returns policy? How will that affect the cover price?


newdawnpublisher:
We no longer charge fees in any circumstances- and to clarify the term 'performance-based bonuses', it refers to our policy of increasing the royalties we pay our authors once a specified number of copies have been sold.

That's good to know that you're not charging fees.

Re royalties, increased royalties shouldn't be dependent on sales - particularly if you can't substantially demonstrate that those sales figures have been previously achieved by your company. You're better off going for one, high, flat royalty rate. If you're doing print books (and I think that's personally a bad idea because of the need for capital intensive print runs and the difficulty of getting on shelf distribution), then I'd want at least 50% on the cover price as the starting royalty and even then I'd want to know your track record first.


newdawnpublisher:
It's also worth bearing in mind that not every person who has a literary agent will have a publishable book either. Terie, I agree that you don't have to have qualifications to have talent, but talent undoubtedly makes it easier to obtain qualifications; and as for the other part, isn't improving your skills supposed to be what higher education is all about?

Actually, if you have a reputable agent then you should have a publishable book because that's what reputable agents are interested in - publishable books, which they think they can sell.

I don't deny that an agent may not be able to sell every book by every author they take on - sometimes because a publisher's marketing department might veto it, sometimes because the accountants might not believe it'll sell enough in the market - but good agents want a long term relationship with an author and work with them to produce more good manuscripts in the belief that one will sell.


newdawnpublisher:
Momento Mori- I sincerely apologise if you were angered or frustrated by our website, and you brought a number of points forward which needed to be answered.

I'm neither angry nor frustrated by your website so there's no need to apologise.

I am frustrated with seeing new publishers spring up that spout the same nonsense about the publishing industry and offer some kind of magical route to publication when they don't seem to have an established track record of delivery to back up the pitch.


newdawnpublisher:
We didn't intend to give the impression that publishing will write off all your student debts (especially not in the U.K nowadays, after the tuition fee hike), but surely the added income would help towards it?

Well that all depends on whether authors actually make any money from publishing through your company and if so, how much.

I know a few people who've gone through royalty only publishers such as yours and they've been lucky to make more than 100 quid in royalty payments and that was spread over the course of a year. Bearing in mind the amount of time and effort that goes into writing a book, it's a very poor return and for one friend of mine, what they made was eaten up in the money they spent in promoting their book.


newdawnpublisher:
The statement-
Quote:
'...both publishers and authors lose more royalties that way'
-was poorly worded, and written with the idealistic view that, with the royalties divided between two parties, we would have a moral obligation to pay the author higher royalties to compensate for this. Of course, you'd be hard-pressed to find any for-profit publisher that would think that way, that would give the author's lower effective royalties a second thought; but I'd very much like to count our publishing house as one of the few ones that would.

My issue with this is that it's completely backward for two reasons:

1. No reputable agent is going to want to submit to you precisely because of the fact that you're not paying an advance.

2. Publishers aren't paying the author a lower royalty by dealing with an agent. They're paying the exact same royalty that they'd otherwise be paying to the author. It's the author who's paying the agent out of that royalty as the agent's commission for making the sale.

By trying to distinguish yourself as some kind of "moral obligation" is absolute rubbish and the reason why you're one of the few publishers who think differently is because you clearly have very little experience or understanding of how royalties (or agents) actually work.


newdawnpublisher:
We're not saying that publishing is broken, or that the system doesn't work; we're just saying that another system, our system, has a chance of working as well.

OK, so what's your basis for thinking that? What's your experience to back up your belief that your company can work?

MM

Unimportant
01-05-2012, 03:25 AM
With the competition we're running, every author we publish, at least 100 writers in all, will all be paid for their work- through royalties rather than with advance payments, but no-one offers advance payments when publishing anthologies.
As veinglory and Memento have said, this is completely wrong. I have sold stories to at least half a dozen different anthologies over the last few years, and every time the publisher has paid me either a flat fee or an advance plus royalties. And these are small presses, not Harper Collins.

So publishers, large and small, do pay authors for their stories in anthologies. Yes, I have seen some small presses who offer royalties only, but I don't submit to them. I reckon a lot of authors feel the same way I do -- which may explain why you're not getting many publishable submissions.

Unimportant
01-05-2012, 03:30 AM
From the New Dawn website:

Creative Writing degrees have been offered at several institutions across the UK for so long now, but when it comes down to it, the wider publishing industry still seems to perceive these qualifications to be barely worth the paper that the award certificates are printed on.

And why do you think that is? How many bestselling authors -- or midlisters, or decent-selling debut authors -- can you think of who have a degree in creative writing?

JL_Benet
01-05-2012, 06:42 AM
From the New Dawn website:
[/SIZE]

And why do you think that is? How many bestselling authors -- or midlisters, or decent-selling debut authors -- can you think of who have a degree in creative writing?
I can think of a whole bunch of very successful writers from Seton Hill University's program. Perhaps that's because they spend more time learning about the business and the market.

Unimportant
01-05-2012, 06:55 AM
Can you give us some examples, JLB? It's likely that many writers don't note their creative writing degrees on their books or webpages, so perhaps I'm familiar with the authors you're thinking of but I'm not aware of their educational background.

Adding: the Seton Hill website just says "Creative Writing: Many of our writing students move on to graduate studies and teaching positions with ease; others enter the publishing industry or become freelance writers." I wonder why they don't list all the graduates who've gone to be very successful writers? You'd think it'd be a great selling point.

veinglory
01-05-2012, 06:58 AM
I remember a year or two ago I looked up the top 20 on the NYT list. Most had degrees, but none were in creative writing. I think creative writing graduates tend to lean more literary in ambition.

JL_Benet
01-05-2012, 07:25 AM
You might have been looking at the site for the undergrad classes. Here is the site for the MFA program:
http://www.setonhill.edu/academics/fiction/

Do you recognize any of the following name: Kaye Dacus, Shelly Bates, Maria V. Snyder, Victoria Thompson, Shelly Bates, Nalo Hopkinson, Patrick Picciarelli, Anne Harris, Barbara Miller, Mary SanGiovanni, Maria V. Snyder, Penny Dawn, Jackie King, William H. Horner (is more known for his editing), Sharon Mignerey, Anne Harris, Ed Dee, Randall Silvis? Those are just the ones I know from when I went to school there.

There are a bunch of Listmania lists grouped by genre that one of the alumni put up here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/byauthor/A2PYZGSYY8YIOQ/ref=cm_pdp_lm_all

Terie
01-05-2012, 11:13 AM
I think the point that Unimportant is trying to make is that relatively few of the authors who have hit the major bestseller lists (NYTimes, USAToday, etc.) have creative writing degrees. That pool has thousands and thousands of writers in it, and only a handful of them have degrees in creative writing.

On the other side of that coin, consider the thousands and thousands of writers who have creative writing degrees and how many of them have hit the bestseller lists. Again, we're talking about a handful.

Therefore, one can logically conclude that there is not a major causal relationship between getting a creative writing degree and hitting the bestseller lists. The overlap of people who have done both is small.

Momento Mori
01-05-2012, 02:53 PM
Unimportant:
And why do you think that is? How many bestselling authors -- or midlisters, or decent-selling debut authors -- can you think of who have a degree in creative writing?

I think that some of this is down to the fact that New Dawn seems to have no idea about either how publishing works or what the relationship is between creative writing degrees and publishing deals.

When New Dawn says that "the wider publishing industry still seems to perceive these qualifications to be barely worth the paper that the award certificates are printed on.", they're ignoring the fact that there are several Creative Writing MA courses in the United Kingdom where commercial publishers and agents try to get involved. The foremost of these is the course at the University of East Anglia, which does have a reputation in the literary fiction market for identifying and nurturing hot talent. Students on the UEA MA in Creative Writing course are perceived as having a higher chance of ending up with agents and publishing contracts and some of the biggest names in literary fiction in the last 30 years have been through that course (I previously mentioned Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith and Kazuo Ishigurou but if you check out this link of alumni: http://www.uea.ac.uk/creativewriting/alumni it's like a who's who of contemporary British literature).

I did my MA at City University and we had big agents come to our showcase evening (including Aitkin Alexander, RCW, Greene & Heaton and Christopher Little) and editors from publishers like HarperCollins, Bloomsbury and Hachette come to speak to us.

So the publishing industry in the United Kingdom does not automatically discount a creative writing degree but the fact that you have a Creative Writing degree does not mean that you're guaranteed to get a book deal and as Unimportant andTerie points out, most commercially published authors will not have a specific qualification in creative writing.

MM

James D. Macdonald
01-05-2012, 10:03 PM
...but no-one offers advance payments when publishing anthologies.

This is not true.

I've been published in (at current count) twenty-five different anthologies. Every single one offered an advance. I wouldn't consider an anthology that didn't.

Unimportant
01-06-2012, 12:16 AM
Thanks for that, JLB. I do indeed recognise those names! And when I looked at the Seton Hill webpage I was impressed that they focus a lot of teaching on genres outside literary.

Unimportant
01-06-2012, 12:17 AM
I think the point that Unimportant is trying to make is that relatively few of the authors who have hit the major bestseller lists (NYTimes, USAToday, etc.) have creative writing degrees. That pool has thousands and thousands of writers in it, and only a handful of them have degrees in creative writing.

On the other side of that coin, consider the thousands and thousands of writers who have creative writing degrees and how many of them have hit the bestseller lists. Again, we're talking about a handful.

Therefore, one can logically conclude that there is not a major causal relationship between getting a creative writing degree and hitting the bestseller lists. The overlap of people who have done both is small.

Yes, that was what I meant. Thanks for saying it so clearly!

Unimportant
01-06-2012, 12:28 AM
It would make sense to me if New Dawn (or any publisher) were to say "Submissions from graduates of the Seton Hill writing programme (or whichever UK writing programmes are the equivalent) are welcomed and go to the front of the queue". But they seem to have no discrimination at all, particularly when it comes to their "Best and Brightest (http://www.newdawnpublishersltd.co.uk/best-and-brightest.php)" competition.



Of course, the BEST & BRIGHTEST competition is only open to University students and graduates. Here at New Dawn Publishers Ltd, we are strong believers in the importance of qualifications in the field. However, those who wish to enter their work in the BEST & BRIGHTEST competition will be glad to hear that we will welcome submissions from those with, or working towards obtaining, a degree in any discipline, whether it relates to the field of creative writing or not.



How can they be strong believers of qualifications in the field if they're equating a degree in creative fiction to being a first year uni student in an engineering programme? And I have no clue how they could possibly verify whether or not the one hundred regional finalists (or indeed any submitter) really is enrolled in or a graduate of a degree programme at a university. Given the number of diploma mills out there, New Dawn's criteria seem utterly meaningless.

JL_Benet
01-06-2012, 01:23 AM
It would make sense to me if New Dawn (or any publisher) were to say "Submissions from graduates of the Seton Hill writing programme (or whichever UK writing programmes are the equivalent) are welcomed and go to the front of the queue". But they seem to have no discrimination at all, particularly when it comes to their "Best and Brightest (http://www.newdawnpublishersltd.co.uk/best-and-brightest.php)" competition.

That is the key, I think. I have experienced it first-hand when editors from places like Harlequin, DelRey, Samhain, etc. would come to Seton Hill. They will send say it directly to the schools that they visit (whose programs they know and respect), or they will send a notice directly to the program director to disseminate to the students and alumni.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
01-06-2012, 02:56 AM
I've been published in (at current count) twenty-five different anthologies. Every single one offered an advance. I wouldn't consider an anthology that didn't.
My recent anthology sale came with a flat fee for me, paid on acceptance. And I'm just a newbie, so it's not just big names or multiply published authors that this is true for.

My understanding is, royalty payments are vanishingly small or nonexistent for contributors to anthologies. It's often not even in the contract. The money up front is all the money I ever expect to see.

Unimportant
01-06-2012, 04:37 AM
Here are the steps that I see:

1) Fellow gets a degree in Creative Writing.

2) Discovers that no one wants his novel anyway.

3) Decides publishing is broken; founds new publisher.

We've seen this story (or a variation on it) a thousand times before, and never with a happy ending. I suggest moving on.

Steps 1, probably 2, and 3, (http://www.younoodle.com/people/sundeep_singh_parhar) just as James said: Sundeep Parhar, BA from the University of North London in English Literature and Creative Writing. No publications cited but 1 book completed, 5+ novels in progress, 20+ synopses. Founder of New Dawn Publishers.

I've no idea how the University of North London's creative writing programme compares to other UK universities; the only info I could find is that UNL merged and became part of the London Metropolitan University, which the Times World University rankings (http://www.hotcoursesabroad.com/study/ranking/sh/times/pno/1/good-university-universities-rankings/times-ranking.html?collegeId=15574#hlt)puts dead last of 116 UK universities. And this takes us back to JL Benet's point that not all creative writing degrees are created equal, and not all graduates from a given degree programme are created equal.

newdawnpublisher
01-06-2012, 08:16 PM
I think the point that Unimportant is trying to make is that relatively few of the authors who have hit the major bestseller lists (NYTimes, USAToday, etc.) have creative writing degrees. That pool has thousands and thousands of writers in it, and only a handful of them have degrees in creative writing.

On the other side of that coin, consider the thousands and thousands of writers who have creative writing degrees and how many of them have hit the bestseller lists. Again, we're talking about a handful.

Therefore, one can logically conclude that there is not a major causal relationship between getting a creative writing degree and hitting the bestseller lists. The overlap of people who have done both is small.I feel that when one looks at the evidence in perspective, a very different logical conculsion is reached. After all, as a percentage, how many published writers have creative writing degrees? 0.1%? 0.05%? Then, look at the authors on the fiction bestseller lists- a pool not of thousands and thousands, but of hundreds. Of those authors in that pool who are still alive today, how many of them have creative writing degrees? Probably around 5%, 10%. That still implies that those who take creative writing degrees are some 50 to 250 times more likely to succeed in getting on the bestseller lists than those who haven't. In my book, that sounds like enough to qualify as a major causal relationship.

And we wholeheartedly agree with the statement that;
not all creative writing degrees are created equal, and not all graduates from a given degree programme are created equal. Precisely because of this, we can't invite people to the front of our queue just for coming from more prestigious (and, as a general rule, more expensive) institutions, consigning other authors' entries to the bottom of the pile just because their institutions aren't boxing in the same weight division. When scrutinising work for publication, we can only make fair decisions if we remain unbiased. Those disparaging my writing skills and my business acumen on the bais of my graduation from LMU (which was 91st in the UK in The Times' University rankings when I graduated- not something to boast about by any stretch of the imagination, but still not quite at rock bottom yet) should also take JM Benet's point on board.

People also need to bear in mind that the Best and Brightest competition is just that, a competition. If we were commissioning authors to contribute towards the anthologies, then it would be understandable if they expected to recieve advances for their work. For a short-story competition though, I imagine that one would be hard-pressed to find one which offers competitors advances for their entries. At the regional stage, with a total of 10 anthologies and a minimum of 100 authors, it just isn't feasible for us right now.

Certifying that authors are student or graduates of HEI's is actually relatively simple- especially here in the UK, where every student is registered with the NUS, and possesses a unique Student ID number. Our entry policy for the Best & Brightest competition has been relaxed, but we are not 'equating a degree in creative fiction to being a first-year uni student in an engineering programme'. The Best & Brightest competition's submissions policy is independent of, and distinct from, that of New Dawn Publishers Ltd, which continues to insist that authors have qualifications in the neccessary field of expertise.

priceless1
01-06-2012, 08:27 PM
Just to bring some sanity to this strange thread, I've worked with many authors whose books were their MFA projects. While those were very good, I discovered that surprising number of them had a very difficult time writing a publishable story on their own.

A degree means nothing other than you've learned the technique of writing and have the ability to improve your writing. But just because you've learned technique, it doesn't mean you can apply it. This competition strikes me as a non-starter, but whatever...

Stacia Kane
01-06-2012, 08:44 PM
Welcome to AW! Thank you for your response.


I feel that when one looks at the evidence in perspective, a very different logical conculsion is reached. After all, as a percentage, how many published writers have creative writing degrees? 0.1%? 0.05%? Then, look at the authors on the fiction bestseller lists- a pool not of thousands and thousands, but of hundreds. Of those authors in that pool who are still alive today, how many of them have creative writing degrees? Probably around 5%, 10%. That still implies that those who take creative writing degrees are some 50 to 250 times more likely to succeed in getting on the bestseller lists than those who haven't. In my book, that sounds like enough to qualify as a major causal relationship.



Forgive me, because math is not my strong suit, but I'm unclear as to how you came up with those numbers and that conclusion? I see what your idea is, but it seems to me there's another interpretation: if only 5-10% of fiction writers on the bestseller list have Creative Writing degrees, then your odds of hitting the list are better if you do not have that degree. And if only 0.1-0.5% of published writers in general have CW degrees, again, I'd see that degree as a hindrance rather than a help.

Like I said, math isn't my subject at all. And personally I don't believe a degree makes a difference either way, but your numbers seem to me to be implying that it does make a difference--just not, in my interpretation of them, a positive one.

Momento Mori
01-06-2012, 09:26 PM
newdawnpublisher:
I feel that when one looks at the evidence in perspective, a very different logical conculsion is reached. After all, as a percentage, how many published writers have creative writing degrees? 0.1%? 0.05%? Then, look at the authors on the fiction bestseller lists- a pool not of thousands and thousands, but of hundreds. Of those authors in that pool who are still alive today, how many of them have creative writing degrees? Probably around 5%, 10%. That still implies that those who take creative writing degrees are some 50 to 250 times more likely to succeed in getting on the bestseller lists than those who haven't. In my book, that sounds like enough to qualify as a major causal relationship.

Feelings are all well and good and I'd love to be able to look at the evidence in perspective. Unfortunately, you have not provided any evidence to support your assertion/guestimate that those with creative writing degrees are between 50 and 250 times more likely to get published than anyone else. And as an aside, your 50 to 250 range allows for an incredibly high margin of error.


newdawnpublisher:
People also need to bear in mind that the Best and Brightest competition is just that, a competition.

A competition where the prize is publication in an anthology put out by a publisher with no previous publishing experience which may or may not be stocked on the shelves in bookstores (although I'd suggest it's more likely it will more likely be available to order) and where you only get the 200 quid prize money if your story is ranked first. If your story isn't ranked first then your stuck having your story in said anthology, which you hope will make some sales so you can earn pennies in royalties (and even then, the overall winner will still be earning more in royalties than you).

What a wonderful opportunity for any creative writing course graduate.


priceless1:
Just to bring some sanity to this strange thread, I've worked with many authors whose books were their MFA projects. While those were very good, I discovered that surprising number of them had a very difficult time writing a publishable story on their own.

To add to this, my MA project was what got me signed by Rogers, Coleridge & White (one of the most prestigious agencies in the UK) on the basis of the first 3 chapters. However since submitting the first draft to my agent, I've been through over 2 years of having to rewrite that first draft with my agent so that we can get it to a stage where she's happy to submit it to publishers. No MA course prepares you for that.

Of the 2 people in my graduating year who got publishing deals, both had intensive rewrites of their drafts before publishers offered a contract.

The 1 person in the preceding graduating year who got a publishing contract went through that exact same intensive revision process and also had massive issues with coming up with their next book. Another person in that year, whose book was so highly regarded that she had 9 agencies vying to sign her, never made it out of agent revisions.

I always say that Creative Writing MAs are great for giving you discipline and a support network and the right MAs can introduce you to the right agents and right publishers, but they are not the be all and end all and if you write genre in the UK, you can probably live without one.

MM

Unimportant
01-06-2012, 09:50 PM
A competition where the prize is publication in an anthology put out by a publisher with no previous publishing experience which may or may not be stocked on the shelves in bookstores (although I'd suggest it's more likely it will more likely be available to order) and where you only get the 200 quid prize money if your story is ranked first. If your story isn't ranked first then your stuck having your story in said anthology, which you hope will make some sales so you can earn pennies in royalties (and even then, the overall winner will still be earning more in royalties than you).

What a wonderful opportunity for any creative writing course graduate.
The contest is open to any person who is enrolled in any degree programme at any university or who has graduated from any university, world wide, so the odds are that the majority of authors who get included in this anthology will not be creative writing course graduates.

And the sales of an unthemed, multi-genre anthology containing a mix of short stories and novel excerpts are likely to be limited to the authors themselves, so I'm guessing any 'winners' will spend more on buying a copy of the anthology (since there's no mention of contributors' copies being offered) than they'd ever earn in royalties.

This is looking an awful lot like that Alleviate Publications "contest".....

James D. Macdonald
01-06-2012, 11:23 PM
After all, as a percentage, how many published writers have creative writing degrees? 0.1%? 0.05%? Then, look at the authors on the fiction bestseller lists- a pool not of thousands and thousands, but of hundreds. Of those authors in that pool who are still alive today, how many of them have creative writing degrees? Probably around 5%, 10%. That still implies that those who take creative writing degrees are some 50 to 250 times more likely to succeed in getting on the bestseller lists than those who haven't. In my book, that sounds like enough to qualify as a major causal relationship.

Sundeep, meaning no disrespect, your degree didn't include a maths requirement, did it?

There's nothing that says you can't limit your contestant pool to ginger left-handers, but that's as likely to give you publishable prose as limiting your contest to creative writing students.

newdawnpublisher
01-08-2012, 05:10 PM
Forgive me, because math is not my strong suit, but I'm unclear as to how you came up with those numbers and that conclusion? I see what your idea is, but it seems to me there's another interpretation: if only 5-10% of fiction writers on the bestseller list have Creative Writing degrees, then your odds of hitting the list are better if you do not have that degree. And if only 0.1-0.5% of published writers in general have CW degrees, again, I'd see that degree as a hindrance rather than a help. Like I said, math isn't my subject at all. And personally I don't believe a degree makes a difference either way, but your numbers seem to me to be implying that it does make a difference--just not, in my interpretation of them, a positive one. In the Western World, the majority of people are employed, but only a minority of people have degrees. Does that mean that having a degree has a negative impact on your employability? Not at all. Don't confuse proportion with population, and don't confuse publication with success.
A competition where the prize is publication in an anthology put out by a publisher with no previous publishing experience which may or may not be stocked on the shelves in bookstores (although I'd suggest it's more likely it will more likely be available to order) and where you only get the 200 quid prize money if your story is ranked first. If your story isn't ranked first then your stuck having your story in said anthology, which you hope will make some sales so you can earn pennies in royalties (and even then, the overall winner will still be earning more in royalties than you). What a wonderful opportunity for any creative writing course graduate. We do have 'previous publishing experience', insofar as we have been publishing for over a year now. From our experience, we can admit that there is still a chance that bookstores may not stock the anthologies on their shelves, but this would be the case with any new as-yet incomplete publication, especially bearing in mind that there are still six months to go before the launch. And there are other, smaller cash prizes on offer; but when presenting our competition, we did so with the people would enter with the belief, or at the very least the faint ambition that they could win the top prize.
The contest is open to any person who is enrolled in any degree programme at any university or who has graduated from any university, world wide, so the odds are that the majority of authors who get included in this anthology will not be creative writing course graduates. Actually, so far we've found the exact opposite. We still have yet to recieve our first submission from an author who isn't a student or graduate of a creative writing degree.
And the sales of an unthemed, multi-genre anthology containing a mix of short stories and novel excerpts are likely to be limited to the authors themselves, so I'm guessing any 'winners' will spend more on buying a copy of the anthology (since there's no mention of contributors' copies being offered) than they'd ever earn in royalties. The Best & Brightest competition is not limited to, or biased towards, any specific fiction genres, but its 'students & graduates only' entry policy still provides a clear theme; and highlights a community which several studies have recognised as the most prolific reading group of all. And the demand for this kind of short-story anthology is established; proof-of-concept has already been achieved. At our last count, there were 79 universities in the UK with Creative Writing or other literary-oriented Student Societies; and the vast majority of these societies already produce annual short-story anthologies of their own. Typically, these are small print-runs of 50>100 copies, sold through a Student's Union shop on-campus, and sold out in the first month. Even if we were forced to cope with this ultimate worst-case scenario of every bookshop refusing to stock our anthologies, these figures would indicate that we can expect to sell a bare minimum of 5000 copies- not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but still enough to give each of our 100 contributing authors a higher royalties payout than the 200 top cash prize.

And that's only half the story. There is another community to whom the Best & Brightest anthologies will be of some interest- far smaller, but to most potential contributors, far more interesting. Some literary agents already target CW degrees in their scouting efforts; but only the largest, most prestigious agencies can afford to invest the time, effort and expense needed to do so. For several agents, the anthologies will offer a quick, easy and inexpensive way to focus their efforts in scouting new talent, encompassing both the cream-of-the-crop of new, unclaimed student authors, and the best of the graduate authors that either slipped through the net, or graduated from those institutions that didn't have any nets in place. In our press release prior to the anthologies' launch, many literary agencies will be contacted to highlight this.

Any rights we ask to publish the work of entrants will be limited to a one-year lease, any people who send extracts from longer works to us, and who have their work included in one of our anthologies, will still be allowed to publish their full piece elsewhere at the same time. So, as a competition, the Best & Brightest's cash prizes may not be all that impressive. However, the Best & Brightest anthologies present an exclusive opportunity to showcase your work and yourself, one which shouldn't be dismissed off-hand.

Terie
01-08-2012, 07:46 PM
Let's take a sample of two responders in this thread.

Stacia Kane has a GED and no university qualifications. I have a high school diploma with honors, a BA in English with honors (including Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa), and a post-grad certificate in Technical Writing.

Stacia's publishing record (number of published books, size of the publishers who've published those books, foreign rights sold of those books, SALES of those books) VASTLY exceeds mine, even including the book I co-ghostwrote (that is, my name isn't on the cover).

This pretension that 'university students and graduates make better writers' is exactly that: pretension. You can argue it all you like, newdawnpublisher, but that doesn't make it any less pretentious.

Also? Publishing books for one year is not 'industry experience'. If you had actual publishing industry experience, you'd know that having or working toward a degree is meaningless when it comes to writing fiction. After all, if you had actual publishing experience, you'd be familiar with slush, much of it written by students and graduates and very VERY little of which is publishable.

Old Hack
01-08-2012, 07:57 PM
In the Western World, the majority of people are employed, but only a minority of people have degrees. Does that mean that having a degree has a negative impact on your employability? Not at all. Don't confuse proportion with population, and don't confuse publication with success.

And don't confuse fallacy for logic, as you seem to be doing here. You might do well to brush up on your syllogisms.


We do have 'previous publishing experience', insofar as we have been publishing for over a year now.


But you don't have experience gained in publishing prior to setting up your own house, which is what was being referred to here, and which is what counts.

Now you have been in operation for a year, though, you should have made some sales. How many books have you brought to the market in that time, and roughly how many copies have each of them sold?


From our experience, we can admit that there is still a chance that bookstores may not stock the anthologies on their shelves, but this would be the case with any new as-yet incomplete publication, especially bearing in mind that there are still six months to go before the launch.

Do you have distribution for your anthology, or a sales team of any kind working to get your books onto bookshop shelves?


... demand for this kind of short-story anthology is established; proof-of-concept has already been achieved. At our last count, there were 79 universities in the UK with Creative Writing or other literary-oriented Student Societies; and the vast majority of these societies already produce annual short-story anthologies of their own. Typically, these are small print-runs of 50>100 copies, sold through a Student's Union shop on-campus, and sold out in the first month. Even if we were forced to cope with this ultimate worst-case scenario of every bookshop refusing to stock our anthologies, these figures would indicate that we can expect to sell a bare minimum of 5000 copies- not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but still enough to give each of our 100 contributing authors a higher royalties payout than the 200 top cash prize.

You're assuming that because most MA courses publish their own "best-of" anthologies which sell maybe 50-100 copies each, that you're going to be able to plug into that same market and sell a similar number of copies to each MA course.

79 creative writing courses x 50-100 copies = 3,950-7,900

Have I got that right?

You are very unlikely to sell anything like this number, in this way. MA courses sell those year-end anthologies to their students, who have a vested interest in buying them: they have work in them! Why would they buy yours if they don't have a story in them? There are all sorts of well-established literary magazines available now which are struggling to sell more than 200 copies of each issue despite featuring known writers and good writing: why do you think you're going to be able to sell 25 times that number without the names to draw people in?

If you pay for a print-run of 5,000 copies of your anthology you are almost certainly going to end up with a lot of copies of that anthology hanging around your home for a very long time. Please be careful.


Some literary agents already target CW degrees in their scouting efforts

I think you're a little confused about how literary agents and literary scouts work.


For several agents, the anthologies will offer a quick, easy and inexpensive way to focus their efforts in scouting new talent, encompassing both the cream-of-the-crop of new, unclaimed student authors, and the best of the graduate authors that either slipped through the net, or graduated from those institutions that didn't have any nets in place. In our press release prior to the anthologies' launch, many literary agencies will be contacted to highlight this.

If you want your anthologies to work as a hunting-ground for agents then your best bet would be to supply copies to the agencies for free. I am not at all convinced that many agencies will buy your anthologies in order to look for new talent: in fact I asked a friend who happens to be a big-name literary agent if she'd consider your publications and she said, quite clearly, that she would not as she receives far too many submissions already, and she prefers to subscribe to good literary magazines which are already established.


the Best & Brightest anthologies present an exclusive opportunity to showcase your work and yourself, one which shouldn't be dismissed off-hand.

No, they don't. They really don't. They present an opportunity which isn't exclusive at all, because just about anyone can submit to them and if you're going to publish a whole heap of different regional anthologies, there are going to be numerous different editions. They would only showcase writers' works if significant people were going to buy them, and from experience I don't think they will. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I've seen so many other people come up with simliar ideas and end up in a mess because of it. I urge you to scale down your sales estimates by a great degree, and to reconsider your plans. If you don't then I suspect you'll risk taking first rights to good work and effectively throwing them away; and that is not in your interests, nor is it in the interests of the writers you hope to help with this plan.

Stacia Kane
01-08-2012, 09:14 PM
In the Western World, the majority of people are employed, but only a minority of people have degrees. Does that mean that having a degree has a negative impact on your employability? Not at all. Don't confuse proportion with population, and don't confuse publication with success.

I was simply offering a different interpretation of the numbers you provided; numbers you provided with the direct intention of somehow "proving" that writers with CW degrees have better chances at being bestsellers. I didn't offer any sort of definition of "success," or even mention it.

I do still admit to finding myself confused as to how you came about those numbers (I notice you didn't provide sources), and as to how when you mention them they are proof of something, but when I mention them I'm confusing "proportion with population" and "publication with success."


Other have already said what I would have said regarding "experience" and the fact that the anthologies to which you refer sell copies because those buying them actually have work in them.

They've addressed this next point as well but I want to add my agreement:



Some literary agents already target CW degrees in their scouting efforts; but only the largest, most prestigious agencies can afford to invest the time, effort and expense needed to do so.

Which agents are those?

As Old Hack said, literary agents and literary scouts are two different things. Neither, to my knowledge and in my experience, do they actually "target" CW degrees. (Not to mention that if that were indeed the case, I'm not sure where that leaves the statement on your website about how "the wider publishing industry still seems to perceive these qualifications to be barely worth the paper that the award certificates are printed on." Which is it: do they scout CW degrees, or do they scoff at them?)



For several agents, the anthologies will offer a quick, easy and inexpensive way to focus their efforts in scouting new talent, encompassing both the cream-of-the-crop of new, unclaimed student authors, and the best of the graduate authors that either slipped through the net, or graduated from those institutions that didn't have any nets in place. In our press release prior to the anthologies' launch, many literary agencies will be contacted to highlight this.

I highly doubt any reputable agent will buy your anthology in order to hunt for new talent. Agents have plenty of writers trying to attract their attention already; they don't need to go hunting for them (and they're certainly not going to pay for the antho on the vague chance that they *might* find a writer who *might* have written a novel worth publishing. Remember, agents don't usually handle short stories).

Unimportant
01-08-2012, 10:26 PM
And the demand for this kind of short-story anthology is established; proof-of-concept has already been achieved. At our last count, there were 79 universities in the UK with Creative Writing or other literary-oriented Student Societies; and the vast majority of these societies already produce annual short-story anthologies of their own. Typically, these are small print-runs of 50>100 copies, sold through a Student's Union shop on-campus, and sold out in the first month. Even if we were forced to cope with this ultimate worst-case scenario of every bookshop refusing to stock our anthologies, these figures would indicate that we can expect to sell a bare minimum of 5000 copies

The proof of concept you've cited is that a student anthology will sell 50 - 100 copies. I fully accept those numbers. To make the leap that your student anthology will sell 5000+ copies....have you talked to any of those 79 university literary societies about this? Might it not be worth contacting a few dozen of them and asking for their advice? I'd strongly suggest you make sure you have pre orders and committments from all those student bookshops before you pay for a print run of 5000, or even 500, copies of your anthology.

shaldna
01-08-2012, 11:27 PM
I feel that when one looks at the evidence in perspective, a very different logical conculsion is reached. After all, as a percentage, how many published writers have creative writing degrees? 0.1%? 0.05%? Then, look at the authors on the fiction bestseller lists- a pool not of thousands and thousands, but of hundreds. Of those authors in that pool who are still alive today, how many of them have creative writing degrees? Probably around 5%, 10%.

I'm curious to know where you got your figures from. The scientist in me always likes to have the facts.



Those disparaging my writing skills and my business acumen on the bais of my graduation from LMU (which was 91st in the UK in The Times' University rankings when I graduated- not something to boast about by any stretch of the imagination, but still not quite at rock bottom yet) should also take JM Benet's point on board.

Given that there are only 128 universities and colleges in the whole of the UK, 91 isn't great.

But that's not what people are worried about, folks are more concerned with what EXPERIENCE you have in the industry. Do you know HOW to run a publishing house?



Certifying that authors are student or graduates of HEI's is actually relatively simple- especially here in the UK, where every student is registered with the NUS, and possesses a unique Student ID number.

Not quite correct. All students will have a student identification number assigned by their university, yes, but not all students are registered with the NUS - you have to register for that yourself, and only then will you get a national student number. And, unless you have access to those databases, there's no way even having this information is going to be useful to you. So, I could tell you that I'm at Oxford and you wouldn't be able to prove that I wasn't.


Don't confuse proportion with population, and don't confuse publication with success.

Don't confuse qualifications with actual ability or talent.



We do have 'previous publishing experience', insofar as we have been publishing for over a year now.

Without wanting to sound negative here, but a year is nothing. My hubby runs a small press and he has been at it for several years and it's only THIS year that the first book are coming out. It's taken that long to get everything ready - working with authors on edits, cover art, proofs, printing, reviews, placement etc etc. The books that are coming out this year were all signed about two years ago. A year is nothing when it comes to publishing.



From our experience, we can admit that there is still a chance that bookstores may not stock the anthologies on their shelves, but this would be the case with any new as-yet incomplete publication, especially bearing in mind that there are still six months to go before the launch.

What's your distribution like? Have you organised in store presence? Bear in mind that bookstores don't just order books, they are like any shop - they need to be wooed to order anything. Getting a book instore is hard, especially if you are a small publisher. Bear in mind also that the chains want a hefty discount - Waterstones, for instance, 'suggest' a 60% discount, which can cripple a small press who can't afford to offset the printing costs.



The Best & Brightest competition is not limited to, or biased towards, any specific fiction genres, but its 'students & graduates only' entry policy still provides a clear theme; and highlights a community which several studies have recognised as the most prolific reading group of all.

Actually, I'd like to see that study, if you have a link. Because I've found the opposite to be true when I was teaching - high school kids read like daemons. But the university students I taught read less for entertainment, given the amount of required reading they had to do.



And the demand for this kind of short-story anthology is established; proof-of-concept has already been achieved. At our last count, there were 79 universities in the UK with Creative Writing or other literary-oriented Student Societies; and the vast majority of these societies already produce annual short-story anthologies of their own. Typically, these are small print-runs of 50>100 copies, sold through a Student's Union shop on-campus, and sold out in the first month.
Even if we were forced to cope with this ultimate worst-case scenario of every bookshop refusing to stock our anthologies, these figures would indicate that we can expect to sell a bare minimum of 5000 copies- not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but still enough to give each of our 100 contributing authors a higher royalties payout than the 200 top cash prize.

Those anthologies produced by Uni's are by their staff and students, very local interest in that sense - those people buying them either contributed or have friends / family who did, hence the reason that they are selling 100 or so copies. Those anthologies are not routinely sold outside of the university though.

The figures you cite above have no relevance to your predicted sales at all, so I'm interested to see where this idea of 5000 copies comes from, especially if, as you say, every bookshop refuses to stock them. You would be relying on the contributors to buy them.






This pretension that 'university students and graduates make better writers' is exactly that: pretension. You can argue it all you like, newdawnpublisher, but that doesn't make it any less pretentious.

I will second this.

Old Hack
01-08-2012, 11:41 PM
Certifying that authors are student or graduates of HEI's is actually relatively simple- especially here in the UK, where every student is registered with the NUS, and possesses a unique Student ID number.

I missed this point. When I took my MA I didn't register with the NUS, and I didn't have that unique Student ID Number. I don't think many other people on my course registered either--we all talked about it, and most decided not to.

newdawnpublisher
01-09-2012, 01:40 AM
I know, one year of publishing experience isn't a lot. I wasn't claiming that it was. In all likelihood, it's still more experience than all save for a select few of the people who've been posting libel on this thread. It's still been enough to piece together a good idea of what we're up against. This thread illustrates the reality of the challenge that New Dawn Publishers faces in being taken seriously. Whenever we try to answer any accusations, every reply seems to be made with the aim of driving nails into our coffin.
For the last time, then; I can't provide specific sources, because of the sheer number of individuals involved. How long would it take to compile a list of all the world's fiction bestsellers, along with another list of all those who have their works of fiction in print, and research the educational background of every single person on those lists- one individual at a time, since even Nielsen don't keep those sort of records. In the time it would take to complete such a mammoth task (unless you have the workforce of a small country, and believe it or not, we don't) the lists would have become dated, redundant.

The figures quoted are a guesstimate, insomuch as the studies were carried out roughly a year and a half ago, only a sample of the bestsellers at that time was taken, and our separate study on the proportion of published authors cited as having CW degrees was based on the net output of graduates over the histories of every CW degree that we could obtain figures for, divided by the total number of active ISBN numbers. In reality, the total proportion of published authors who have CW degrees will be far, far lower, making the extent to which they feature on the bestseller lists even more remarkable.

We are not a big publisher; we are not a prolific publisher. So far, we have brought two novels to market, with a third currently in the final stages of the editing process. Several more could have been added to our title list, but New Dawn Publishers Ltd is not a vanity publisher. We are allowed to maintain high standards, and our doing so should be commended, not belitted. Our sales figures have been modest; building good trading relationships with the big book chains has been a long and arduous affair, and our novels are yet to be stocked on their shelves, but we are now finally in the final stage of negotiations to do so with two of the largest, Barnes & Noble (big mistake made earlier- now corrected) and Waterstone's, and once we do, our sales figures should (emphasis- should, not will) pick up considerably from their current average of two copies per title per day. You could call it 'unspectacular'- you will call it 'pathetic'- but for a publishing house in its first year of trading, it's just life in the real world.

As for all the claims that the anthologies are doomed to failure: Yes, we have contacted all of the 79 student societies we mentioned. More than half, 43 in total, got back in touch with us, and all of their responses were positive, wishing us luck and offering us support. A few even enquired about placing orders of as many as 100 copies of their respective regional anthologies, trying to negotiate a wholesale discount in order to sell them on-campus themselves.

The National Union of Students, the organisation which runs the Student's Union shops across the UK, has expressed great enthusiasm for the project, as has JS Campus, (a decent-sized book-chain of around 40 stores, all located on university campuses across the U.K). They seem convinced that the Best & Brightest anthologies will sell well enough to be worth stocking on their shelves. The only reason that that we're aren't taking pre-orders or commitments yet is the fact that we have yet to recieve the minimum of ten entries for each regional anthology. As soon as we have, we will ask those in the queue to come forward, but until we do, we cannot, and will not be provoked into doing so prematurely.

The 5,000 copies figure was quoted as a net minimum estimate, encompassing all 11 anthologies. If that still isn't contemptible enough for anyone on this thread, if the evidence still hasn't managed to convince anyone that we have a hope in hell of achieving anything, or helping anyone else to achieve anything, then all I can do is accept that, move on and hope (in vain, of course) that others will be adult enough to do the same. I will readily admit that I did confuse literary scouts with literary agents in my last post; I apologise for doing so, but after suffering an epileptic seizure when I had almost completed writing it, deleting it unintentionally and having to rewrite it from scratch, one or two mistakes were made.

If there are any more questions- questions, as opposed to insults, derogatory comments and jibes- then I will be all too happy to answer them as best I can. If New Dawn Publishers discriminated on the basis of race, religion, sex or sexuality, in the same manner that several other equally legitimate niche publishers do, would it have generated this much palapable hatred? Why should discriminating between potential job applicants on the basis of qualifications be seen as being so much more repulsive, more infuriating, more wrong than it would be to discriminate on any of these other grounds? Is there any logic to it? In closing, then; I will not give up and let my company die. I will not give up on those authors who come to us, looking for someone to publish their work. This abusive internet thread, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. If I am forced to, then so be it...

Old Hack
01-09-2012, 02:25 AM
I know, one year of publishing experience isn't a lot. I wasn't claiming that it was.

You're right, you didn't. And it isn't. It's certainly not enough experience to be able to run a decent publishing company, in my experience.


In all likelihood, it's still more experience than all save for a select few of the people who've been posting libel on this thread.

If you consider any of the comments here to be libellous please report them: there's a little red warning triangle in the bottom left of each post for you to use. But I've not seen any libel here, just some good, honest, questioning. And as for the amount of experience people here have: I've worked in publishing for nearly three decades, and others here have a similar amount.


For the last time, then; I can't provide specific sources, because of the sheer number of individuals involved ... The figures quoted are a guesstimate, insomuch as the studies were carried out roughly a year and a half ago, only a sample of the bestsellers at that time was taken, and our separate study on the proportion of published authors cited as having CW degrees was based on the net output of graduates over the histories of every CW degree that we could obtain figures for, divided by the total number of active ISBN numbers. In reality, the total proportion of published authors who have CW degrees will be far, far lower, making the extent to which they feature on the bestseller lists even more remarkable.

If you can't provide specific sources then don't quote specific statistics, and don't rely on guesses. Easy.


We are allowed to maintain high standards, and our doing so should be commended, not belitted.

We're not belittling you, we're questioning you. The two things are different.


Our sales figures have been modest; building good trading relationships with the big book chains has been a long and arduous affair, and our novels are yet to be stocked on their shelves, but we are now finally in the final stage of negotiations to do so with two of the largest, Mills & Boons and Waterstone's,

"Mills & Boons" (more properly referred to as Harlequin Mills and Boon, or HM&B) isn't a "big book chain", it's a publisher. It won't help you sell your books. It has no shelves on which to stock them, and no shops in which to put those non-existant shelves. Further, HM&B publishes books in a very specific genre--romance--and very few MA courses specialise in genre writing. I have no idea what you're doing negotiating with HM&B nor how you expect them to sell books for you.

It's interesting that you're working with Waterstones, however. Are they prepared to buy your books direct, despite their usual insistance that they will only work with distributors?


As for all the claims that the anthologies are doomed to failure: Yes, we have contacted all of the 79 student societies we mentioned. More than half, 43 in total, got back in touch with us, and all of their responses were positive, wishing us luck and offering us support. A few even enquired about placing orders of as many as 100 copies of their respective regional anthologies, trying to negotiate a wholesale discount in order to sell them on-campus themselves.

Forty three student societies might have offered you support but that's not the same as forty three of them placing orders. And if a few of them order 100 copies you'll still be way under your projection of 5,000 copies. If half of those 43 order 100 copies, you'll have placed 2,150 copies which isn't even half of your target.


The National Union of Students, the organisation which runs the Student's Union shops across the UK, has expressed great enthusiasm for the project, as has JS Campus, (a decent-sized book-chain of around 40 stores, all located on university campuses across the U.K). They seem convinced that the Best & Brightest anthologies will sell well enough to be worth stocking on their shelves.

You do realise, don't you, that they'll expect a discount of 50% or more off the cover price; that you'll not get paid until their credit period is over (usually 90days) and that they'll want the books on sale or return? Which means that you might send them the books, wait nearly three months, and then have to accept all the unsold copies back and not be paid for them.


I will readily admit that I did confuse literary scouts with literary agents in my last post; I apologise for doing so, but after suffering an epileptic seizure when I had almost completed writing it, deleting it unintentionally and having to rewrite it from scratch, one or two mistakes were made.

I'm sorry that you have health problems. But readers won't care about them: all they'll know is that the books you publish have mistakes in them. You can't use that as an excuse if you want to be professional. I don't.


If there are any more questions- questions, as opposed to insults, derogatory comments and jibes- then I will be all too happy to answer them as best I can. If New Dawn Publishers discriminated on the basis of race, religion, sex or sexuality, in the same manner that several other equally legitimate niche publishers do, would it have generated this much palapable hatred? Why should discriminating between potential job applicants on the basis of qualifications be seen as being so much more repulsive, more infuriating, more wrongso be it than it would be to discriminate on any of these other grounds? Is there any logic to it? In closing, then; I will not give up and let my company die. I will not give up on those authors who come to us, looking for someone to publish their work. This abusive internet thread, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. If I am forced to, then so be it...

Oh, stop it. That's nothing but empty rhetoric, right there. You're being manipulative by introducing race and religion into this discussion: it's shabby and if my children resorted to such underhand tactics instead of using reason and debate I'd be embarrassed. They know better and they're 11 and 15. I guess you're older. You should know better too.

There's no hatred being directed towards you in this thread, nor is there any abuse or libel. Just reasonable questions which for some reason you feel threatened by. You'd do far better to get over that and provide us with reasonable answers instead of going all Camille on us. Really.

Unimportant
01-09-2012, 02:35 AM
NewDawn, I think you're seeing insults where there are none. If we say "ND appears to have no industry experience" it's because we can't find any evidence that the New Dawn staff have previously worked for, say, Random House or Riverhead, or whatever. All we can comment on is the info we can find, of which there is a dearth.


I know, one year of publishing experience isn't a lot. I wasn't claiming that it was. In all likelihood, it's still more experience than all save for a select few of the people who've been posting libel on this thread.
Dozens of people have posted on this thread. If you're accusing one or more of us of libel, I think you'd better point out specific examples. (And the list of posters here who have more experience than you in the publishing industry is a very long one.)


The figures quoted are a guesstimate,
Since you didn't provide any info on where you got the figures, they seemed more like "random number plucked out of the air" than "educated guess".

Most small presses focus on a particular genre or niche. I'd suggest that it would be more meaningful if New Dawn were to determine whether there is any evidence that it is desirable for authors in their selected genre/market to have a creative writing degree, rather than trying to analyse every book ever published by every author in every genre in the history of fiction.


divided by the total number of active ISBN numbers.
How did you select novel-length fiction from "all active ISBN"?


Several more could have been added to our title list, but New Dawn Publishers Ltd is not a vanity publisher. We are allowed to maintain high standards, and our doing so should be commended, not belitted.
Who has belittled you for not being a vanity press? I'm honestly not seeing it.


Our sales figures have been modest; building good trading relationships with the big book chains has been a long and arduous affair, and our novels are yet to be stocked on their shelves, but we are now finally in the final stage of negotiations to do so with two of the largest, Mills & Boons and Waterstone's,
I'm familiar with the chain bookstore Waterstone's. But isn't Mills & Boon a romance publisher, not a bookstore?


The 5,000 copies figure was quoted as a net minimum estimate, encompassing all 11 anthologies.
Thank you for clarifying that; it was not clear in your original post that you mean you expected to sell a minimum of 5000 copies of 11 cumulative titles rather than 5000 copies of the single, final anthology.

You previously said:
We can expect to sell a bare minimum of 5000 copies- not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but still enough to give each of our 100 contributing authors a higher royalties payout than the 200 top cash prize.
100 authors x >200 per author = >20,000 in royalties from 5000 copies = >4 royalties paid per copy. What will be the cover price of these anthologies?


then all I can do is accept that, move on and hope (in vain, of course) that others will be adult enough to do the same.
There are tens of thousands of writers on this board who are likely to be reading this thread and judging the professionalism of New Dawn based on your responses here. You might want to think about how those parenthetical comments reflect on New Dawn.


If New Dawn Publishers discriminated on the basis of race, religion, sex or sexuality, in the same manner that several other equally legitimate niche publishers do, would it have generated this much palapable hatred?
I must not get out much. Who are these legitimate publishers that discriminate against authors based on race, religion, sex, or sexuality?

Stacia Kane
01-09-2012, 02:37 AM
I know, one year of publishing experience isn't a lot. I wasn't claiming that it was. In all likelihood, it's still more experience than all save for a select few of the people who've been posting libel on this thread.


Oh, FFS. Libel? Can you please point out which statements in this thread are libelous?

And actually, no, most of us posting in this thread have more experience than that, not "a select few" of us.




It's still been enough to piece together a good idea of what we're up against. This thread illustrates the reality of the challenge that New Dawn Publishers faces in being taken seriously. Whenever we try to answer any accusations, every reply seems to be made with the aim of driving nails into our coffin.

Which "accusations" have you tried to answer, and with what facts? Because I'm seeing quite a few solid questions being asked, and you not really answering any of them with anything but obfuscation. For example, I asked which literary agents scout those with CW degrees, and you did not answer. I also asked how that statement jibes with your website's statement about how the publishing industry views CW degrees as barely worth the paper they're printed on, and which of those statements is actually true, but you did not answer that either.




For the last time, then; I can't provide specific sources, because of the sheer number of individuals involved. How long would it take to compile a list of all the world's fiction bestsellers, along with another list of all those who have their works of fiction in print, and research the educational background of every single person on those lists- one individual at a time, since even Nielsen don't keep those sort of records.

Of course Nielsen doesn't keep those sorts of records. Why would they? Nielsen doesn't keep records of how many books are submitted to publishers or what profit is made on each title or anything else, either. Nielsen tracks sales of individual titles through certain outlets, period. The backgrounds of those authors, along with a host of other meaningless information, doesn't interest them.




In the time it would take to complete such a mammoth task (unless you have the workforce of a small country, and believe it or not, we don't) the lists would have become dated, redundant.

So there were no such studies, is what you're saying; is that correct?



The figures quoted are a guesstimate, insomuch as the studies were carried out roughly a year and a half ago,

Which studies are those? Because your statement above seemed to say there were in fact no such studies, as to carry one out would be too time-consuming and would be outdated almost before it began.



only a sample of the bestsellers at that time was taken, and our separate study on the proportion of published authors cited as having CW degrees was based on the net output of graduates over the histories of every CW degree that we could obtain figures for, divided by the total number of active ISBN numbers.

Wait. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding this, because it sounds to me like what you did was count the number of CW graduates from every college which offers them and then assumed that each one had published a book, and then divided that number by the total number of published books? And then you took the number of bestsellers in one individual week written by those with CW degrees and assumed that its proportion of CW graduates was steady throughout the year?

And you believe those numbers, based on a completely wild assumption with no basis in fact, prove anything at all?



In reality, the total proportion of published authors who have CW degrees will be far, far lower, making the extent to which they feature on the bestseller lists even more remarkable.

In reality, the total number of bestsellers written by those without CW degrees still far outnumbers the number of bestsellers written by those with degrees, making the extent to which the degreed appear on the bestseller lists completely unremarkable, and an indicator that there are many other factors involved.



We are not a big publisher; we are not a prolific publisher. So far, we have brought two novels to market, with a third currently in the final stages of the editing process. Several more could have been added to our title list, but New Dawn Publishers Ltd is not a vanity publisher. We are allowed to maintain high standards, and our doing so should be commended, not belitted.

No one is belittling you for "maintain high standards." What we're doing is saying those standards appear based on inaccurate assumptions.



Our sales figures have been modest; building good trading relationships with the big book chains has been a long and arduous affair, and our novels are yet to be stocked on their shelves, but we are now finally in the final stage of negotiations to do so with two of the largest, Mills & Boons and Waterstone's, and once we do, our sales figures should (emphasis- [I]should, not will) pick up considerably from their current average of two copies per title per day.

Mills & Boon is a publisher, not a bookstore.

Thank you for providing those sales figures.



You could call it 'unspectacular'- you will call it 'pathetic'- but for a publishing house in its first year of trading, it's just life in the real world.

Funnily enough, I did not call it "pathetic." Perhaps because my interactions with you have not been, on my behalf, so disrespectful and rude. I'd appreciate it if you quit making yet more assumptions of what my behavior will be based on nothing at all.




As for all the claims that the anthologies are doomed to failure: Yes, we have contacted all of the 79 student societies we mentioned. More than half, 43 in total, got back in touch with us, and all of their responses were positive, wishing us luck and offering us support. A few even enquired about placing orders of as many as 100 copies of their respective regional anthologies, trying to negotiate a wholesale discount in order to sell them on-campus themselves.

The National Union of Students, the organisation which runs the Student's Union shops across the UK, has expressed great enthusiasm for the project, as has JS Campus, (a decent-sized book-chain of around 40 stores, all located on university campuses across the U.K). They seem convinced that the Best & Brightest anthologies will sell well enough to be worth stocking on their shelves. The only reason that that we're aren't taking pre-orders or commitments yet is the fact that we have yet to recieve the minimum of ten entries for each regional anthology. As soon as we have, we will ask those in the queue to come forward, but until we do, we cannot, and will not be provoked into doing so prematurely.


And this is all very encouraging, and I congratulate you.



The 5,000 copies figure was quoted as a net minimum estimate, encompassing all 11 anthologies.

And I still believe it's a specious calculation, but you're free to hope.



If that still isn't contemptible enough for anyone on this thread,

I don't think "contemptible" is the word you're looking for.




if the evidence still hasn't managed to convince anyone that we have a hope in hell of achieving anything, or helping anyone else to achieve anything, then all I can do is accept that, move on and hope (in vain, of course) that others will be adult enough to do the same.

This isn't personal, you know. The truth is the odds against you are very high. No one here takes pleasure in the idea of a publisher failing. We're here simply to provide authors with information based on experience, so they can make the best decisions about to whom to submit. That's all. None of us woke up this morning and decided we hate you and want to make your life miserable and brand you a failure just cuz it's fun.



I will readily admit that I did confuse literary scouts with literary agents in my last post; I apologise for doing so, but after suffering an epileptic seizure when I had almost completed writing it, deleting it unintentionally and having to rewrite it from scratch, one or two mistakes were made.

I sincerely hope you're okay. I had a seizure just over a year ago thanks to a medication I was taking; it wasn't a pleasant experience, and I'm very sorry to hear you're dealing with that.

I do suggest though--and this is out of concern for your health and not any other reason--that in future you rest after such an event, rather than finishing a post on an internet message board. The internet can wait. Seriously.



If there are any more questions- questions, as opposed to insults, derogatory comments and jibes- then I will be all too happy to answer them as best I can.

I'd love for you to answer the questions I asked previously and repeated here, as well as the other questions in my post.




If New Dawn Publishers discriminated on the basis of race, religion, sex or sexuality, in the same manner that several other equally legitimate niche publishers do, would it have generated this much palapable hatred?

Sorry, what legitimate niche publishers discriminate based on such things? I'm not aware of any. I'd love to know which they are so I can avoid them, because I would certainly take issue with such discrimination.




Why should discriminating between potential job applicants on the basis of qualifications be seen as being so much more repulsive, more infuriating, more wrongso be it than it would be to discriminate on any of these other grounds?

Who in the world said it was repulsive and/or infuriating?

And the difference is that in publishing your book is your qualification. We're simply reiterating that fact; no degree in the world makes you "qualified" to be published if your book stinks. Our issue is not with your decision to publish only those with degrees; our issue is with the assumption that a degree is the only qualification which matters, or with the idea that having a degree automatically makes one a better writer or one more "worthy" of publication.

Not to mention we tend to be leery of start-up publishers just because the odds are against them. And we're especially leery when the principals of those publishers have no prior experience in the industry.




Is there any logic to it?

I've outlined our logic above.




In closing, then; I will not give up and let my company die. I will not give up on those authors who come to us, looking for someone to publish their work. This abusive internet thread, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. If I am forced to, then so be it...

No one here has told you to give up and no one has abused you. This is business.

Unimportant
01-09-2012, 02:52 AM
I Several more could have been added to our title list, but New Dawn Publishers Ltd is not a vanity publisher. We are allowed to maintain high standards, and our doing so should be commended, not belitted.

Having high editorial standards is of course commendable. But I'm seeing a potential conflict of interest.




[A]nthologies of the regional shortlists will be compiled and published by the 1st of June, made available both as ebook downloads and in print in paperback format. From these, the decision as to who will make the BEST & BRIGHTEST FINAL anthology will not be made by the few, but by the many; the competitors, and those who purchase the regional anthologies, will all have 2 months to cast their votes before the final tally is taken. Those with the most votes, and the greatest popular support, will be the ones who make it through to the final shortlist, and into the BEST & BRIGHTEST FINAL anthology.


Let's say I submit a story (which I am eligible to do, as I am a university graduate). And let's say my story gets selected for the Overseas anthology (which it would, because I would shamelessly plagiarise Stacia Kane and send in an excerpt from her "City of Ghosts", the best fantasy novel I've read in many years. You can sue me, Stacia -- after the anthology comes out and I'm all rich and famous). And then let's say I buy thousands of copies of the regional anthologies, each of which gets me a vote for the final winner. And, of course, I will vote each time for me. So it is possible for this contest to be bought, not won -- which is a definite conflict of interest and makes it hard to see where the editorial standards come in.

(Editing to add: I plan to change the characters' names to Checkers and Horrible, just to be on the safe side.)

Stacia Kane
01-09-2012, 03:03 AM
And let's say my story gets selected for the Overseas anthology (which it would, because I would shamelessly plagiarise Stacia Kane and send in an excerpt from her "City of Ghosts", the best fantasy novel I've read in many years. You can sue me, Stacia -- after the anthology comes out and I'm all rich and famous).

HAHAHAHA!!



(Editing to add: I plan to change the characters' names to Checkers and Horrible, just to be on the safe side.)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!


/derail (sorry all, I couldn't let something that funny go without public acknowledgment.)

shaldna
01-09-2012, 03:04 AM
I know, one year of publishing experience isn't a lot. I wasn't claiming that it was. In all likelihood, it's still more experience than all save for a select few of the people who've been posting libel on this thread.

Many of those who posted on this thread have had years of working in various aspects of the publishing industry. Any questions asked are not meant as an attack.




It's still been enough to piece together a good idea of what we're up against. This thread illustrates the reality of the challenge that New Dawn Publishers faces in being taken seriously. Whenever we try to answer any accusations, every reply seems to be made with the aim of driving nails into our coffin.

Not at all. But if you are going to enter an industry, ANY industry, you need to know what you are doing and what you are up against. No one is 'driving nails into your coffin' they are asking legitimate questions that you really should have an answer for.



For the last time, then; I can't provide specific sources, because of the sheer number of individuals involved. How long would it take to compile a list of all the world's fiction bestsellers, along with another list of all those who have their works of fiction in print, and research the educational background of every single person on those lists- one individual at a time, since even Nielsen don't keep those sort of records. In the time it would take to complete such a mammoth task (unless you have the workforce of a small country, and believe it or not, we don't) the lists would have become dated, redundant.

Then I would suggest that you don't use that as the basis for your arguments.



Our sales figures have been modest; building good trading relationships with the big book chains has been a long and arduous affair, and our novels are yet to be stocked on their shelves, but we are now finally in the final stage of negotiations to do so with two of the largest, Mills & Boons and Waterstone's, and once we do, our sales figures should (emphasis- should, not will) pick up considerably from their current average of two copies per title per day. You could call it 'unspectacular'- you will call it 'pathetic'- but for a publishing house in its first year of trading, it's just life in the real world.

Mills and Boon are a publisher. Not a book seller. I would expect someone who was working in the industry to know that. I'll assume that it's a typo.

I know only too well how hard it is to build up a good relationship with a bookseller, and how tough it is to get books in stores. But I can also tell you that for a small publisher the return is so slight that it's hardly worthwhile.

Additionally,and don't take this the wrong way because it's meant as advice and not snark - the books you have on your website have appalling, homemade looking covers. Nothing about them says professional. If you are going to try and sell those books commercially then you may want to look into getting that sorted.


As for all the claims that the anthologies are doomed to failure: Yes, we have contacted all of the 79 student societies we mentioned. More than half, 43 in total, got back in touch with us, and all of their responses were positive, wishing us luck and offering us support. A few even enquired about placing orders of as many as 100 copies of their respective regional anthologies, trying to negotiate a wholesale discount in order to sell them on-campus themselves.

This is encouraging. No one doomed them to failure, I know that I for one expressed concern over where you were getting your figures, and pointed out that those similar anthologies that you mentioned tended to have a built in readership, hence their sales.


The National Union of Students, the organisation which runs the Student's Union shops across the UK, has expressed great enthusiasm for the project, as has JS Campus, (a decent-sized book-chain of around 40 stores, all located on university campuses across the U.K). They seem convinced that the Best & Brightest anthologies will sell well enough to be worth stocking on their shelves.

I'd caution against relying on on-campus bookshops, given the rate that they are shutting down.



The 5,000 copies figure was quoted as a net minimum estimate, encompassing all 11 anthologies. If that still isn't contemptible enough for anyone on this thread, if the evidence still hasn't managed to convince anyone that we have a hope in hell of achieving anything, or helping anyone else to achieve anything, then all I can do is accept that, move on and hope (in vain, of course) that others will be adult enough to do the same.

I know that I asked you HOW you came up with teh 5000 copies figure, as that sum didn't match the figures that you had been quoting. I note that you have not answered. That is, of course, your prerogative.

Are we to assume that you are hoping for 5000 OVERALL sales, which would work out at around 400 copies per anthology?

I;m just trying to get this clear in my head because you aren't explaining very well.




If there are any more questions- questions, as opposed to insults, derogatory comments and jibes- then I will be all too happy to answer them as best I can.

I would LOVE for you to answer ANY of the questions that I have posed to you so far.



If New Dawn Publishers discriminated on the basis of race, religion, sex or sexuality, in the same manner that several other equally legitimate niche publishers do, would it have generated this much palapable hatred?

Wow. You so did not just go there? Seriously? You are going to come onto a board full of writers, agents, editors and publishers and say something so stupid as that?




This abusive internet thread, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. If I am forced to, then so be it...

Please don't be one of those people who get's angry and insulting and defensive when asked a straightforward question. We see people like that here all the time, often people like yourself, who have an idea, or a new business, but when asked questions they don't have an answer for they tend to get angry, then they get abusive, then they flounce off and don't realise that this site will show up in any search for their name or company. Please don't be one of those people.

No one here is attacking you personally, but we, as writers, have questions. Questions that ANYONE considering your company will have. If you cannot, or will not answer those questions then that's up to you. But don't take it as an attack, because it's not.




It's interesting that you're working with Waterstones, however. Are they prepared to buy your books direct, despite their usual insistance that they will only work with distributors?

Not to mention the 60% discount, which prices most small publishers out of their stores.




Forty three student societies might have offered you support but that's not the same as forty three of them placing orders. And if a few of them order 100 copies you'll still be way under your projection of 5,000 copies. If half of those 43 order 100 copies, you'll have placed 2,150 copies which isn't even half of your target.

I'd like to ask what your printing is - are you getting a local company to do a big run, or is it POD with Lightning Source or similar? I ask because the next comment makes a really good point, and you could potentially loose a huge amount of money if it all goes wrong. Not only that, but HOW you are getting your books printed will dictate their price etc, and you may not be able to AFFORD to have your books stocked in shops like Waterstones.




You do realise, don't you, that they'll expect a discount of 50% or more off the cover price; that you'll not get paid until their credit period is over (usually 90days) and that they'll want the books on sale or return? Which means that you might send them the books, wait nearly three months, and then have to accept all the unsold copies back and not be paid for them.




There's no hatred being directed towards you in this thread, nor is there any abuse or libel. Just reasonable questions which for some reason you feel threatened by. You'd do far better to get over that and provide us with reasonable answers instead of going all Camille on us. Really.

I would ask if you are this defensive when faced with simple questions, how are you going to react when faced with a really angry author?

Momento Mori
01-09-2012, 03:27 AM
newdawnpublisher:
In all likelihood, it's still more experience than all save for a select few of the people who've been posting libel on this thread.

Oh please. Not only has there blatantly not been any libel on this thread but you're running your business from a residential address in Slough. You clearly don't have a lot of capital tied up in your business and businesses don't qualify for legal aid so I sincerely doubt you can afford to pay for a decent lawyer to sue anyone. And should you find someone who says they'll help you sue, get them to look up the status of a little law the US government passed last year making it impossible to enforce libel judgments in the US, which means you'll be better off setting fire to your cash with a zippo lighter.

The posters here have raised legitimate questions and legitimate issues with your company. I understand that it's tough to hear that but really, you need to start facing up to some stuff rather than issuing threats, poorly playing the race card and sobbing about the big meanies spoiling your personal delusional fantasy. I mean for Christ's sake, man, you apparently don't know that Mills and Boon is a publisher. What the hell have you been negotiating?

I'm done here. New Dawn Publishing is one of the many, many well-intentioned but clueless publishers that'll take your book and do bollock all with it.

MM

shaldna
01-09-2012, 03:32 AM
You previously said:
100 authors x >200 per author = >20,000 in royalties from 5000 copies = >4 royalties paid per copy. What will be the cover price of these anthologies?

a cover price of 20, with a 50 % discount on cover price, will have a printing cost of about 3-4 via LS POD,depending on number of pages, plus a couple of hundred set up charge, plus 4 royalty per anthology will leave the publishers with less than a quid.

If the cover price is 10 then the publisher will be loosing money with every sale.

newdawnpublisher
01-09-2012, 03:40 AM
My apologies; instead of Mills & Boons, I was talking about Barnes & Noble, and the error has now been corrected. Big mistake to make, but I was tired, and I was pissed off. I still am. It's not an excuse; it's just stating the main factors that let to the error.

And I had no intention of 'playing the race card', or trying to resort to underhand tactics, I was just trying to present an argument. There are publishers out there who only publish 'black' authors, women's only publishers, LGBT publishers, and any number of publishers who only print faith-specific material. I'm just telling it how it is. All I'm trying to say is that the students & graduate community is a niche market as well, and one which we're just as entitled to cater for as any of these others are.
__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

I used the word 'discriminate' because many people seemed to be arguing that our policies discriminated unfairly against those without qualifications. All of these are examples of niche publishers, and we count ourselves as niche publishers as well.

James D. Macdonald
01-09-2012, 03:40 AM
If half of those 43 order 100 copies, you'll have placed 2,150 copies which isn't even half of your target.

They aren't going to order 100 copies. If they order any at all, they'll order 3-5 copies to see if they sell.

And you should be prepared for around 40% returns.

Offering encouragement and support is easy. If I say, "Good luck with that," I've offered encouragement and support.

My very dear friend, you see 5,000 sales as your minimum if everything goes wrong. I see an order of magnitude less as your very best sales if everything goes right. I do hope you prove me wrong.

Unimportant
01-09-2012, 03:56 AM
As James has pointed out, one person's success is another person's failure.

New Dawn cited "79 universities in the UK with Creative Writing or other literary-oriented Student Societies; and the vast majority of these societies already produce annual short-story anthologies of their own. Typically, these are small print-runs of 50>100 copies" -- I would imagine that these student societies each consider their 50 - 100 copies sold to be a success. If New Dawn has similar expectations, and are in a similar situation, then it's likely they too will achieve this kind of success.

It's New Dawn's expectation that they will sell a minimum of 500 copies per title -- with the implication that anything less will equate to failure -- that tilts my prediction away from success, as I cannot see any reason why New Dawn's anthologies would sell ten times more copies than everyone else's similar anthologies.

Unimportant
01-09-2012, 04:11 AM
And I had no intention of 'playing the race card', or trying to resort to underhand tactics, I was just trying to present an argument. There are publishers out there who only publish 'black' authors, women's only publishers, LGBT publishers, and any number of publishers who only print faith-specific material. I'm just telling it how it is. All I'm trying to say is that the students & graduate community is a niche market as well, and one which we're just as entitled to cater for as any of these others are.

Most of those publishers are specifying those as aspects of the material they will publish, not the authors they will publish. Gay presses don't ask for photos of the author's bedroom; they just ask that the characters in the book be gay. And most of them exist to publish authors/characters who are under-represented due to discrimination on the part of editors in the genre/society, or to promote their own religious beliefs.

No one is saying you are not entitled to select your material or authors on whatever basis you choose. We're simply saying that it appears to be a rather pointless criterion, rather than a guarantee of superior writing as you appear to be suggesting.

shaldna
01-09-2012, 04:18 AM
And I had no intention of 'playing the race card', or trying to resort to underhand tactics, I was just trying to present an argument. There are publishers out there who only publish 'black' authors, women's only publishers, LGBT publishers, and any number of publishers who only print faith-specific material.

If you are unable to tell the difference between racial or sexual discrimination and niche publishers then you are in trouble.

And, I think you'll find, without too much looking searching, that all of those sort of publishers you cited above will have writers who are white, or straight or men or atheist. The MATERIAL may be specific, and by default many of the writers may fall into certain categories, but I am yet to come across a publisher who won't consider my book because I'm white, straight or female.




I'm just telling it how it is.

No. You're telling it how you WANT it to be for the purpose of your argument. There is a difference.






It's New Dawn's expectation that they will sell a minimum of 500 copies per title -- with the implication that anything less will equate to failure -- that tilts my prediction away from success, as I cannot see any reason why New Dawn's anthologies would sell ten times more copies than everyone else's similar anthologies.

Because Hope is the greatest of all treasures.

newdawnpublisher
01-09-2012, 06:10 AM
I also apologize if I seem defensive, hostile, angry, et cetera. If you want a voice to attach to my posts, the best description would be- Weary. Harsh, perhaps even caustic at times; but still level in tone, muted in volume. Legitimate questions have been posed, and I have answered them to the best of my abilities, but people have to understand there are some elements- facts, figures, current developments, the detailed business plan- of my company that I just can't post about willy-nilly on the internet. We are a client of Lightning Source, and our online sales are met through POD. We (now) know all about the harsh realities of the book retail market, and are still on course to make a substantial profit even after surrendering the extortionate wholesale discounts being demanded. Our first bookcover, that of Infaeter, is already being recommissioned, but we are satisfied with that of I Am Lucky Bird. However, if anyone has any constructive criticism relating to either cover though, we would be glad to hear it.

As we tried to make clear in our earlier post, the difficulties and inaccuracies in carrying out our studies were our reason for offering such wide-ranging estimates. Our scrunity of the bestseller lists was carried out on two separate occassions; the records themselves were not retained, largely because New Dawn Publishers was still in the concept stage, and we didn't forsee the need to utilise the results to cure sceptics, but the proportion of writers with CW degrees were roughly 8% and 9% respectively. The other element of the guesstimate was carried out on those laughable premises because it was the only concievable way in which one can even think of approacing the conundrum. I'm not claiming it was accurate, but in all likelihood, with any luck, the figure quoted should be within a factor of ten of the real one. I don't have the time and hard work to spare to narrow it down any further, and I don't think anyone else will either. That all-but-pointless migraine-inducing number crunching (p.s- this is meant humorously. I'm not whining, or going off on one) to come up with those figures was just the closest thing to an answer I could piece together for the people on this thread who asked the questions.

I have to be honest, I don't have answers for everything. Many fair points have been raised, and for those fair points, it isn't posting whatever answers people want to hear on this forum that matters, it's acting on them in the real world. All of those questions which we can actually do something about, we're trying to; all of those which we concievably could at some stage in the future have been put on the to-do list. Of course, no degree in the world makes you qualified to be published if your book stinks; if we thought that they did, we'd be publishing a much longer list of titles right now. But the whole point of taking a CW degree is to improve one's standard of writing. There are plenty of cases where it doesn't work; but in the cases where it does, you can get authors whose books are going to be worth publishing. There are going to be plenty of people without degrees whose books are worth publishing as well, we don't deny that. More of them. But we picked our niche from the beginning, we have to stick with it, and we are growing as a result- not spectacularly, but steadily nevertheless. The truth of the matter is, if you want to get your work on the bestseller lists, then for the time being at least, you'll probably be better off going elsewhere. If you just want to kickstart your career as an author though, why not give New Dawn Publishers a shot?

Trying to answer more questions; yes, there may well be room for a slight conflict of interest in the competition's format. However, all entries will have already been vetted beforehand, and if you really 'wannabe an author we've heard of' (try reading the book, it's really helpful) and want to get on the bestseller lists, the content of your work won't sell itself. The format will encourage competitors to market their work, to further their own aims by spreading their regional anthology to as many potential readers/voters as they can- both preparing them for the hard slog they'll face as professional authors, and providing as much word-of-mouth publicity as any publication could hope for. We are expecting a total of 5000 net sales of our Best & Brightest anthologies under our ultimate worst-case scenario; in favourable conditions, if we succeed in putting the marketing, distribution and retailing arrangements in place before their launch, then we expect considerably more. Hence, the somewhat more optimistic average royalty fees quoted. I'm sorry that I have no real figures to back up my faith, but this is the inaugural year of a one-of-a-kind competition. In all likelihood, I'll be proved wrong, but we have a good handle on our finances. If the worst comes to worst, and the competition and anthologies prove to be an abject failure, we shall endure, and we shall learn from the experience.

On a lighter, more upbeat note, Stacia Kane; I count myself as well read, but can't recall ever having come across City of Ghosts before. From Unimportant's endorsement, it sounds interesting though- is the novel, or series, stocked in any book chains? Or would I, here in the UK, only be able to purchase it/them online- for the moment, at least? If so, then 99 cents sounds like a fair price. I may take you up on that...

Unimportant
01-09-2012, 06:34 AM
We are expecting a total of 5000 net sales of our Best & Brightest anthologies under our ultimate worst-case scenario;
This is the bit I don't get. Why? I think it's great that you've done the research and contacted all those uni writing societies and asked them about their anthologies. I think it's great that you've collected solid data that dozens and dozens of anthologies featuring stories by creative writing students sell 50 - 100 copies per title. What I don't get is why you are expecting your sales to be 10X greater than everyone else's. What is the rationale? Anthologies really don't sell very well compared to novels, in my experience.

I'm assuming that you expect the university student-shops, as well as standard bookstores, to stock your anthologies. Which means they have to exist as physical copies. Which means print runs. 11 print runs of ~500 copies per title will be fairly expensive -- at least ten thousand pounds, yes? That's a fairly large chunk of money for a start-up small press.

Stacia Kane's books are available pretty much everywhere, AFAIK. Her "Unholy Ghosts" trilogy is really excellent.

Stacia Kane
01-09-2012, 07:03 AM
As we tried to make clear in our earlier post, the difficulties and inaccuracies in carrying out our studies were our reason for offering such wide-ranging estimates. Our scrunity of the bestseller lists was carried out on two separate occassions; the records themselves were not retained, largely because New Dawn Publishers was still in the concept stage, and we didn't forsee the need to utilise the results to cure sceptics, but the proportion of writers with CW degrees were roughly 8% and 9% respectively. The other element of the guesstimate was carried out on those laughable premises because it was the only concievable way in which one can even think of approacing the conundrum. I'm not claiming it was accurate, but in all likelihood, with any luck, the figure quoted should be within a factor of ten of the real one. I don't have the time and hard work to spare to narrow it down any further, and I don't think anyone else will either. That all-but-pointless migraine-inducing number crunching (p.s- this is meant humorously. I'm not whining, or going off on one) to come up with those figures was just the closest thing to an answer I could piece together for the people on this thread who asked the questions.


No, offense, but sitting down with a couple of friends and counting authors on the bestseller list isn't a "study." You could call it a "personal survey," but using the word "study," and/or saying "Studies have shown," implies a level of scientific accuracy which hasn't been met. At all.


If you just want to kickstart your career as an author though, why not give New Dawn Publishers a shot?

Because--and again, I mean no offense--there are many other places to "kickstart" one's career which will actually kickstart it, rather than leaving one with less money in one's wallet and a story in an anthology no one read and which does not count as a professional writing credit.

I hope that changes and New Dawn becomes successful in its niche. But again, the odds are against it.



Trying to answer more questions; yes, there may well be room for a slight conflict of interest in the competition's format. However, all entries will have already been vetted beforehand, and if you really 'wannabe an author we've heard of' (try reading the book, it's really helpful) and want to get on the bestseller lists, the content of your work won't sell itself.

No, the content of your work really does sell itself, at least in large part. The rest should be done by one's publisher.

I have to be honest here, your fixation on "being a bestseller" concerns me.



The format will encourage competitors to market their work, to further their own aims by spreading their regional anthology to as many potential readers/voters as they can- both preparing them for the hard slog they'll face as professional authors, and providing as much word-of-mouth publicity as any publication could hope for.

But it's not a "hard slog" faced by those of us published with commercial publishers, and I've never had to try to sell my books to anyone. I do promote online, yes, but my promotion takes the form of things I enjoy doing and would do anyway, like blogging and joking around on Twitter. I've never had to ask or encourage another person to buy my books.

And thank goodness, because doing so is generally IMO unprofessional, and indicates one's publisher isn't doing their job.





We are expecting a total of 5000 net sales of our Best & Brightest anthologies under our ultimate worst-case scenario; in favourable conditions, if we succeed in putting the marketing, distribution and retailing arrangements in place before their launch, then we expect considerably more. Hence, the somewhat more optimistic average royalty fees quoted.

I certainly wish you the best of luck with that. I hope you'll keep us updated.




And I had no intention of 'playing the race card', or trying to resort to underhand tactics, I was just trying to present an argument. There are publishers out there who only publish 'black' authors, women's only publishers, LGBT publishers, and any number of publishers who only print faith-specific material. I'm just telling it how it is. All I'm trying to say is that the students & graduate community is a niche market as well, and one which we're just as entitled to cater for as any of these others are.
__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

I used the word 'discriminate' because many people seemed to be arguing that our policies discriminated unfairly against those without qualifications. All of these are examples of niche publishers, and we count ourselves as niche publishers as well.

The problem is, no one was arguing that at all. What we were saying was/is that your claim that those with CW degrees are automatically better writers was incorrect, and that the only qualification that matters is writing a good book.

If those with CW degrees is your specific niche, that's fine, but I do want to mention that niche publishers generally cater to a niche audience, not a niche group of writers.




On a lighter, more upbeat note, Stacia Kane; I count myself as well read, but can't recall ever having come across City of Ghosts before. From Unimportant's endorsement, it sounds interesting though- is the novel, or series, stocked in any book chains? Or would I, here in the UK, only be able to purchase it/them online- for the moment, at least? If so, then 99 cents sounds like a fair price. I may take you up on that...

The series is published in the UK by HarperVoyager, and is stocked in chain and indie bookstores as well as some Asda stores. (The first book is UNHOLY GHOSTS, and there's plenty of info on it on my website if you click the link at the bottom of my posts; UNHOLY GHOSTS was a 2010 Summer Fantasy Pick in the London Times.)

Unfortunately the 99-cent deal is an ebook promotional sale done specifically by Random House, which publishes the series in the US, so that price isn't available in the UK (or any other country where it's been published).

I hope you enjoy it should you choose to read it. :)

shaldna
01-09-2012, 02:41 PM
Legitimate questions have been posed, and I have answered them to the best of my abilities,

I am still waiting for an answer to ANY of my questions.




but people have to understand there are some elements- facts, figures, current developments, the detailed business plan- of my company that I just can't post about willy-nilly on the internet.

No one is asking to see your accounts or your business plan. We are, however, asking legitimate questions about issues for which you should have an answer. Avoiding honest, straightforward questions raises many concerns.




We are a client of Lightning Source, and our online sales are met through POD.

Okay then, for a paperback you are looking at a set up cost of between 100 and 300, plus a printing cost (assuming 300 pages) of around 3 per book. Hardbacks of 300 pages start at around 7.

So, assuming that those set up costs are built into the profit/loss then you are looking at a cost of, on average, 2,200 set up costs to cover all 11 anthologies, and that's without making a single sale.

Now, if you think you are going to sell 5000 books overall then that's going to be the 2,200 set up fee, plus printing costs of 15,000.

If your cover price, again, working on 300 pages, is 8.99 (average price for that length) then the total potential return is 44,950

HOWEVER, bear in mind that you'll loose half of that in discount, which leaves you with a return of 22,275. Out of which you further loose the set up and printing costs, which leaves you with 5272

BUT, we still have to take off your author royalites, which you stated were 200 per author, for 100 authors, which is 20,000

Which leaves you with an overall loss of 14,728

That's a LOSS of 1338 for each anthology.

And that's not counting the costs of things like artwork etc.


Now, that's not factoring in the returns, which run at about 40% for most books. So, if you are SELLING 5000, that means you would have had 8300 orders. So, you have 3300 returns, for which you are still paying printing costs of 3, so that's a FURTHER LOSS of 9000

All of which brings your TOTAL LOSS to 23,728

I am, of course, working on averages here, average length, average set up and print costs, average cover price, average discounts, average returns. But it gives you an idea.

I LIKE facts and figures, not 'guesstimates' and 'studies' for which there are no actual sources.

So, do you see NOW why some of us, who have more than a year of experience, are asking questions.

It's not about trying to prove you wrong, and it's not about trying to attack you, it's about trying to work out if you actually know what you are doing.




We (now) know all about the harsh realities of the book retail market, and are still on course to make a substantial profit even after surrendering the extortionate wholesale discounts being demanded.

See above for why you are really not.




Our first bookcover, that of Infaeter, is already being recommissioned, but we are satisfied with that of I Am Lucky Bird. However, if anyone has any constructive criticism relating to either cover though, we would be glad to hear it.

Both of the covers are awful. Infaeter looks like it was done on paint, and I am Lucky Bird has lovely colours, but the out of focus image is migrane inducing.

Look at the other covers in their genre to see what you are up against. Those covers are both amateurish and neither would encourage me to pick up either book, which is a shame because they both sound pretty interesting.

There is a sub forum here for cover art, I suggest you ask some of those folks for more detailed advice.



As we tried to make clear in our earlier post, the difficulties and inaccuracies in carrying out our studies were our reason for offering such wide-ranging estimates. Our scrunity of the bestseller lists was carried out on two separate occassions; the records themselves were not retained, largely because New Dawn Publishers was still in the concept stage, and we didn't forsee the need to utilise the results to cure sceptics,

So, you're saying that you didn't keep that information to show to the bank or the arts council, or the grant people, or your accountant, or the business development team, or the marketing people?

Hmmmm.




but the proportion of writers with CW degrees were roughly 8% and 9% respectively.

I have a post grad in statistics and I can tell you right now that 65.2 % of statistics are made up.




I'm not claiming it was accurate, but in all likelihood, with any luck, the figure quoted should be within a factor of ten of the real one.

Factor. Mathmatics : A quantity by which a stated quantity is multiplied or divided

Within a factor of ten of the 'real one' would, in this case, cover up to 90% of all the published writers.




I have to be honest, I don't have answers for everything. Many fair points have been raised, and for those fair points, it isn't posting whatever answers people want to hear on this forum that matters, it's acting on them in the real world.

Is that why you won't answer any of my questions?



But the whole point of taking a CW degree is to improve one's standard of writing.

Actually it's not. And I say that as someone with two of them.

A creative writing degree is primarily aimed at helping you to understand how writing works. It's about the science of the artform, and you would be SHOCKED at how many people I have graduate with good honors from good programmes who can't write for shit.


If you just want to kickstart your career as an author though, why not give New Dawn Publishers a shot?

Because there are other, more experienced publishers who are better placed and better suited to what we (the Royal we) want from a publisher.


The format will encourage competitors to market their work, to further their own aims by spreading their regional anthology to as many potential readers/voters as they can- both preparing them for the hard slog they'll face as professional authors, and providing as much word-of-mouth publicity as any publication could hope for.

I don't think many of the professional writers I know spend all their time trying to market and sell their own work. That's the publishers job.

Which brings me to another question I'm sure you won't answer - have you got a budget for marketing and promotion? (I don't want to know figures, I just want a yes or no) And do you have marketing or PR experience?




We are expecting a total of 5000 net sales of our Best & Brightest anthologies under our ultimate worst-case scenario;

Which may well be worse then you think. See my numbers above.




in favourable conditions, if we succeed in putting the marketing, distribution and retailing arrangements in place before their launch, then we expect considerably more.

If you are planning on launching in six months, as you mentioned upthread, then you should already have all this in place.



I'm sorry that I have no real figures to back up my faith, but this is the inaugural year of a one-of-a-kind competition. In all likelihood, I'll be proved wrong, but we have a good handle on our finances. If the worst comes to worst, and the competition and anthologies prove to be an abject failure, we shall endure, and we shall learn from the experience.

You are contradiciting yourself over and over. It's not inspiring confidence.




I'm assuming that you expect the university student-shops, as well as standard bookstores, to stock your anthologies. Which means they have to exist as physical copies. Which means print runs. 11 print runs of ~500 copies per title will be fairly expensive -- at least ten thousand pounds, yes? That's a fairly large chunk of money for a start-up small press.

See above for my figures break down.



No, offense, but sitting down with a couple of friends and counting authors on the bestseller list isn't a "study." You could call it a "personal survey," but using the word "study," and/or saying "Studies have shown," implies a level of scientific accuracy which hasn't been met. At all.

There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics.

Old Hack
01-09-2012, 03:12 PM
Okay then, for a paperback you are looking at a set up cost of between 100 and 300, plus a printing cost (assuming 300 pages) of around 3 per book. Hardbacks of 300 pages start at around 7.

So, assuming that those set up costs are built into the profit/loss then you are looking at a cost of, on average, 2,200 set up costs to cover all 11 anthologies, and that's without making a single sale.

Now, if you think you are going to sell 5000 books overall then that's going to be the 2,200 set up fee, plus printing costs of 15,000.

If your cover price, again, working on 300 pages, is 8.99 (average price for that length) then the total potential return is 44,950

HOWEVER, bear in mind that you'll loose half of that in discount, which leaves you with a return of 22,275. Out of which you further loose the set up and printing costs, which leaves you with 5272

From my experience, the average number of entries is anything from 60-300 entries for new and unproven competitions like this. So let's be bullish and assume that it receives the full 300. And let's assume that all of the writers who enter the competition buy themselves a copy of one of the anthologies (which is very unlikely--unless all the entrants end up shortlisted and in the anthologies). That's 300 copies sold.

If the 43 shops which have expressed an interest in the book each order 5 copies, and a further 100 bookshops order that many too, that would be a total of 715 copies ordered. This would be a good level of sales for books like these, based on my experience in publishing, and my experience of being a multi-prizewinning short story writer, and the discussions I've had with a few close friends who run and edit literary magazines.

If 40% of those copies are returned (and that might be the average rate of return but in my view, anthologies of short stories by unknown writers are likely to have a much higher return rate) then only 429 of those 715 copies will end up selling, and generating income for the publisher.

We're now looking at total sales of 300 copies sold to the entrants to the competition, and 429 copies sold through bookshops. 729 sales in total.

At a cover price of 8.99 that would mean a turnover of 6,554. Half of that would be taken up by booksellers' discount, leaving you with a return of 3,277. Out of that you have to pay your setup fees and printing costs which, as Shaldna has already demonstrated, will be about 2,200 and 15,000 respectively, or a total of 17,200. Leaving you with a loss of 13,923 before you've even thought about paying royalties, paying for cover design, editing the work, typesetting, promoting the work, and so on. And you now have 4,271 unsold copies of the anthologies sitting in your garage.

I hope that now you understand why so many of us, who have worked in publishing for many years, are concerned that your plan will not work.

newdawnpublisher
01-09-2012, 06:13 PM
As stated before, we do use POD. We believe we will sell 5,000 copies- basing this figure on our knowledge that typical student CW anthologies manage to achieve sales of 50>100 copies on a single campus, and that in each of our regions for the competition, there are 6>12 universities which run CW degrees and/or have CW student societies- but we will print as many, or as few, copies as we get orders for.

The cover designs have already been commissioned, and completed. We carry out editing and typesetting ourselves. All of the anthologies will be available in ebook form as well, and individual codes will be supplied with each purchase to allow for online voting. Even if these glum predictions come to pass, we should still be capable of making a profit- a miniscule one, but a profit nonetheless.

Of course, in this scenario, our authors/entrants clearly wouldn't make anywhere near an average of 200 in royalties, and because of this, we would count this kind of performance as a failure. We don't ask any of our authors for any money whatsoever at any stage of the publication process, we don't charge entrants a fee to enter our competition, and as such, publishing with us will most certainly not 'leave one with less money in one's wallet'.

I am still waiting for an answer to ANY of my questions.Shaldna; what would qualify as an answer? Please. The 'factor of ten' comment was meant to be a light-hearted one, an admission of the levels of inaccuracy, but yet again, you've taken it seriously and been riled by it. The term 'personal survey' would have been more apt than 'study', I can see that now. The percentage figures were dredged from memory, and as such, they shouldn't have been taken as statistics, but as the 'rough estimates' I cited them as.

I spoke for myself, and for several others on my CW degree, when I said that taking the course was about improving ourselves as writers. If it wasn't for you, or other people you know, then fair enough. Everyone has their own reasons.

We do have a budget for marketing and promotion- but it isn't a big one. We do have some marketing/ P.R. experience, but not much- I apologise for generalising again here, but surely this would be the case with most new publishers? The fact of the matter is that the most cost-effective method to market a publication is through word-of-mouth- which includes the examples provided by Stacia Kane, blogging and going on Twitter. I think that most people on this forum would agree that, going on my performance thus far, this isn't really one of my strong points.

I 'have no real figures to back up my faith' relating to our predictions and ambitions, but we 'have a good handle on our finances' in the here and now, relating to our ongoing flows of income and expediture. It really isn't a contradiction. There are other more experienced, better placed publishers out there than New Dawn Publishers, and I can readily admit that there always will be, regardless of how well things go for us. If you want to discount us as a potential option for unpublished authors because of this, then please, feel free. All we can do is the best that we can for every author who sends their work our way.

Old Hack
01-09-2012, 06:36 PM
As stated before, we do use POD. We believe we will sell 5,000 copies

You won't.


- basing this figure on our knowledge that typical student CW anthologies manage to achieve sales of 50>100 copies on a single campus, and that in each of our regions for the competition, there are 6>12 universities which run CW degrees and/or have CW student societies

Maths isn't your strong point, is it?

Assuming that CW anthologies sell 50-100 copies each, and there are 6-12 universities running CW courses, that gives you a possible range of sales:

50 x 6 = 300

100 x 12 = 1,200

Based on your own figures (which I believe are seriously flawed), you can expect to sell between 300 and 1,200 copies. How do you extrapolate these numbers into "We believe we will sell 5,000 copies"?


We do have a budget for marketing and promotion- but it isn't a big one. We do have some marketing/ P.R. experience, but not much- I apologise for generalising again here, but surely this would be the case with most new publishers?

That's something, I suppose.

A friend of mine had a book published by a strong independent press las year. The publisher got her book into bookshops across the country (I know, I saw it in several of them) and carried out their usual marketing activities; and in addition, my friend paid 2,500 to a book publicist to help her promote it.

You hear that? The 2,500 my friend paid out was in addition to the publisher's marketing activity. How much do you expect to pay for marketing and promotion? Because as you have very little experience in doing this yourself, you're going to have do pay someone else to do it if you want it done right.


The fact of the matter is that the most cost-effective method to market a publication is through word-of-mouth- which includes the examples provided by Stacia Kane, blogging and going on Twitter.

No! Stacia's promotional efforts online are in addition to her publisher's efforts. If Stacia didn't carry out her online work, her publisher's marketing push would still ensure that her books sold--just not in quite the same numbers as they do now. Your authors will do the same, but you will be expected to do other, more concrete, marketing. And if you don't, your books will not sell.


I think that most people on this forum would agree that, going on my performance thus far, this isn't really one of my strong points.

Too bloody right it's not.


It seems to me that you're not paying any attention to our warnings, our combined expertise, and our advice. Please, just listen to what we're telling you. Shaldna's cost breakdowns show that you're going to lose money; so do mine. Just because you don't want to hear it doesn't make it untrue.

aliceshortcake
01-09-2012, 06:58 PM
I think what he's getting at is that there are ten regions each with between six and twelve universities with CW degree courses or CW student societies, which - assuming that the writer and his/her friends and relatives would stump up for a copy - would give NDP sales of between 3000 and 12000 (of course, only 5000 copies would be printed). He's also assuming that at least one person from each university will enter enter the contest and have a story published, which is probably the only reason anyone would buy such an anthology in the first place.

Or something like that. Christ, this is making my brain hurt.

Sadly, there's no getting round the fact that even if NDP reach their target of 5000 sales they'd still be massively in the red.

Terie
01-09-2012, 07:06 PM
We carry out editing and typesetting ourselves.

What are your/your editor's qualifications for editing?

James D. Macdonald
01-09-2012, 07:59 PM
The POD business model is incompatible with bookstore placement. If New Dawn intends bookstore placement, and plans to sell 500 copies, a print run is necessary and the print run needs to be on the order of 850 copies.

The 50-100 copies of the student anthologies sold are typical for vanity/self-published works, which sell to the authors and the authors' friends. How many of those student anthologies are sold in the bookstores of other universities? At a quick guess: None.

There is no reason to believe that any New Dawn anthology will sell more than 50-100 copies total, to the authors and the authors' friends.

priceless1
01-09-2012, 09:01 PM
If New Dawn intends bookstore placement, and plans to sell 500 copies, a print run is necessary...


Bingo. This is the very thing that kills most PODs. They don't have a lot operating cash. If they sink what little they have into a print run, the returns can put them under very quickly because they have to pay for that print run whether the book sells or not. Do you have that kind of financial buffer? Have you accounted for returns in your P/L statement?

You've already admitted math isn't your strong suit, so there is a huge question as to how long you can remain solvent. You've only been around a year - it takes a lot longer to really get your feet wet, both in experience, handling your cash flow, and gaining a positive reputation with store buyers.

Unimportant
01-09-2012, 10:34 PM
As stated before, we do use POD. We believe we will sell 5,000 copies- basing this figure on our knowledge that typical student CW anthologies manage to achieve sales of 50>100 copies on a single campus, and that in each of our regions for the competition, there are 6>12 universities which run CW degrees and/or have CW student societies- but we will print as many, or as few, copies as we get orders for.

"Typical student CW anthologies manage to achieve sales of 50>100 copies on a single campus".

This is where more info is needed. Does the typical CW anthology sell 50 - 100 copies on their uni campus, total? Or does the typical CW anthology sell 50 - 100 copies per campus on at least 6 campuses? You are basing your projections on the latter, and we are all assuming the former.

There is a very very good reason we are all assuming the former.

shaldna
01-09-2012, 10:42 PM
As stated before, we do use POD.

My figures were based on POD. In fact, not only based on POD, but they were using averages from Lightning Source - which you say you are using.

You still have to pay a set up fee for each title, you know that right? And each copy still costs money to print - whether you are paying for a whole print run up front, or you are using POD.

Even with POD, those copies are printed to order, not when sold. So they can still be returned. If you can't take returns then you can count out pretty much all bookshops.



We believe we will sell 5,000 copies- basing this figure on our knowledge that typical student CW anthologies manage to achieve sales of 50>100 copies on a single campus,

Yes, THEIR campus. And, as I said upthread - those anothologies are selling that number on their OWN campus because they have a built in readership - friends family etc of the contributors. And 100 copies of a title is nothing.

Now, let's say the students from St Andrews did an anthology and it sold 100 copies on their own campus. You can bet that the majority of those sales came from the students themselves. Would that same anthology sell as well in Durham? No. Because there's no built-in readership.

You are trying to create figures based on something that isn't comparable. You would be better looking for books that are stocked on lots of campus and comparing them.



and that in each of our regions for the competition, there are 6>12 universities which run CW degrees and/or have CW student societies- but we will print as many, or as few, copies as we get orders for.

You will get about 5 orders, in a big book shop. Bear in mind that not every university has a bookshop anymore.


The cover designs have already been commissioned, and completed. We carry out editing and typesetting ourselves. All of the anthologies will be available in ebook form as well, and individual codes will be supplied with each purchase to allow for online voting. Even if these glum predictions come to pass, we should still be capable of making a profit- a miniscule one, but a profit nonetheless.

See my figures up thread as to why you won't using the model you are.

See Old Hack's figures up thread as to why you won't using the model you are.

We're not trying to discourage you, we are trying to show you the 'worst case scenario' that you think (5000 copies) is still going to see you run a massive loss.



Of course, in this scenario, our authors/entrants clearly wouldn't make anywhere near an average of 200 in royalties, and because of this, we would count this kind of performance as a failure. We don't ask any of our authors for any money whatsoever at any stage of the publication process, we don't charge entrants a fee to enter our competition, and as such, publishing with us will most certainly not 'leave one with less money in one's wallet'.

Wow, hold the horses here!

From your own website :

A select few will make it onto our final shortlist, and into the BEST & BRIGHTEST FINAL anthology, with the overall winner set to recieve not only a double share of the royalties, but a 200 CASH PRIZE!

So, the competition T&C states the winner gets a 200 cash prize AND double royalties. What are those royalty percentages?



We do have a budget for marketing and promotion- but it isn't a big one. We do have some marketing/ P.R. experience, but not much- I apologise for generalising again here, but surely this would be the case with most new publishers?

Not the ones who succeed.

If you don't have the marketing and PR experience to sell these books then you need to hire someone who does, otherwise you are letting your authors down.



I 'have no real figures to back up my faith' relating to our predictions and ambitions,

So you are pulling those figures out of your ass then? because, and no offence meant towards your accountancy skills, but I can't see where you are getting them from.



but we 'have a good handle on our finances' in the here and now, relating to our ongoing flows of income and expediture.

You really don't. Again, see upthread for TWO financial breakdowns from two different people which show clearly how much money you stand to loose.



All we can do is the best that we can for every author who sends their work our way.

And we're trying to determine what that 'best' entails, and so far it's not inspiring me.







Sadly, there's no getting round the fact that even if NDP reach their target of 5000 sales they'd still be massively in the red.

I know. This is what I've been trying to say.




The 50-100 copies of the student anthologies sold are typical for vanity/self-published works, which sell to the authors and the authors' friends. How many of those student anthologies are sold in the bookstores of other universities? At a quick guess: None.

Ah, you explained this better than I did

Unimportant
01-10-2012, 12:09 AM
The main reason for this thread is to provide as much info and discussion as possible so that authors can make an informed decision as to whether or not this publisher would be a good choice for them.

For authors with full length novels: Submissions are limited to graduates of creative writing programmes. New Dawn has published two books to date. The owner/editor has not previously worked in the publishing industry. Sales are via POD. No current distribution or bookstore placement. Based on what this publisher has said (two copies/day for new releases) and sales figures from many other small presses, sales are likely to be 200 - 500 copies per title. Assuming a cover price of 6, and assuming a 10% royalty on cover price, this will work out to 120-300 in royalties per author.

For authors with short stories: Submissions are limited to enrolled/graduated university students. New Dawn has published no short story anthologies to date. The owner/editor has not previously worked in the publishing industry. Sales are via POD. No current distribution or bookstore placement. Based on what this publisher has said re sales figures from other creative writing student anthologies, sales are likely to be 50 - 100 copies per title. Assuming a cover price of 6, and assuming a 10% royalty on cover price shared between 10 authors, this will work out to 3-6 in royalties per author.

The second reason for this thread is to engage the publisher in a discussion about how he might make his press more attractive to authors. We've discussed P&L, distribution, marketing, and cover art. Perhaps New Dawn would now be willing to discuss contract terms? What primary and subsidiary rights are contracted, for which territories, etc?

RJE
01-10-2012, 02:33 AM
I've been lurking too long, and this debate has brought me out of the woodwork.

As others have pointed out, the figures (even for POD) simply don't add up. Worst case scenario is not a 5000 copy sale, but rather no copies sold, either in print on electronically.

The suggestions and target market though suggested by New Dawn remind me very much of academic publishing, which is a completely different ball game. In academia you're lucky if you ever get paid for your contributions - largely because as a research student or a professor/lecturer, you are expected to publish as part of your ongoing research portfolio, and payment is assumed to come from your employer in lieu of royalties. If you're lucky enough to write a book that becomes a set text, then you may well be onto a tidy profit, but those folk are few and far between.

Perhaps if this project was realigned along academic grounds there just *might* be support for the books - although probably not among non-academic circles.

As a postgraduate student collection, containing properly edited and selected material (ideally through some sort of academic advisory board), then the collections would at least gain ACADEMIC merit. With that you may well be able to attract more positive support not just from universities, but from university bookshops, students and staff. There is a small chance then of wider appeal if the quality of the books is strong.

With academic publishing there is also scope for a higher retail price, which in turn may help to offset whatever costs you have, providing you can get your sales. It means a modification of your marketing plans and goals.

For what its worth, I think the regional competition is too broad. With ten volumes to come out before the final selection is made, you are really spreading yourself too thin especially with regards selection and editing time. You're also going to hit your potential profits very early on. See how you get on with one book first, then try and sell future volumes in the same series, perhaps as an annual competition. Build your brand.

aliceshortcake
01-10-2012, 08:45 PM
The fact of the matter is that the most cost-effective method to market a publication is through word-of-mouth- which includes the examples provided by Stacia Kane, blogging and going on Twitter.

Ask the victims of PublishAmerica how successful their word-of-mouth marketing campaigns were. There's a reason why real publishers have marketing departments and sales representatives instead of relying on the amateur efforts of their authors.

Stacia Kane
01-10-2012, 10:23 PM
[Self-promotion is] not a "hard slog" faced by those of us published with commercial publishers, and I've never had to try to sell my books to anyone. I do promote online, yes, but my promotion takes the form of things I enjoy doing and would do anyway, like blogging and joking around on Twitter. I've never had to ask or encourage another person to buy my books.

And thank goodness, because doing so is generally IMO unprofessional, and indicates one's publisher isn't doing their job.


(Just quoting so it's right there.)



As The fact of the matter is that the most cost-effective method to market a publication is through word-of-mouth- which includes the examples provided by Stacia Kane, blogging and going on Twitter.




Ask the victims of PublishAmerica how successful their word-of-mouth marketing campaigns were. There's a reason why real publishers have marketing departments and sales representatives instead of relying on the amateur efforts of their authors.

Couple of things:

Aliceshortcake is right, first. And BTW, I was referring to self-promotion, not marketing. (And not really publicity either.)

My comment above as in reply to New Dawn's statement about how having to beg family and friends to vote for their stories is good practice for authors preparing for "the hard slog" of promoting oneself being published; it was me saying that no, actually, I don't have to "slog" to get people to read my books, because my publishers actually get my books in stores and send out review copies.

It was NOT intended as a comment on how great and effective Twitter and blogging are or how many books they sell, because frankly, all the tweets and blog posts in the world wouldn't help if A) readers cannot easily find and buy my books; B) My books weren't very good [by which I mean professionally edited and laid out with professional cover design and print quality, just as much if not more than I mean actual content] or were in a genre or on a subject which interested very few people.

New Dawn, you've confusing "marketing" with "promotion" in your quote above. It's not my job to market my books and I do not do so. I promote myself to some extent, yes, but my point was that I do the promotion I would do anyway because it's fun, and there is zero evidence that any of that promotion has actually sold a single book for me. And either way, that promotion would amount to nothing at all if my books were overpriced or not readily available in stores and online or if the reviews for them were mediocre or poor (and that's not me saying your novels or anthologies will automatically be poor, it's just a comment).

shaldna
01-11-2012, 02:24 PM
It's not my job to market my books and I do not do so. I promote myself to some extent, yes, but my point was that I do the promotion I would do anyway because it's fun, and there is zero evidence that any of that promotion has actually sold a single book for me.

Any contract I have signed has had a clause where I am expected to engage in 'reasonable' amounts of promotion as set up by my publisher.

I've never been expected to do it all. I'm with you though that social networking is fun, it's a good way to connect with readers.

aliceshortcake
06-03-2012, 02:18 PM
New Dawn's Best and Brightest contest has its own website, and there have been some interesting developments:


If you want to get your work out there, gain some real far-and-wide recognition for your talents in creative writing, and garner some decent prize money, then the BEST & BRIGHTEST competition exists to launch you onwards to fame, acclaim, and those sales that we all know can be achieved, up there among the stars!


The deadline for this year's competition has now passed, but we will be accepting entries for next year's BEST & BRIGHTEST competition from 01/09/2012. After judging all of the entries on a regional basis, we've had to scale things back a bit this year though- instead of compiling and publishing ten anthologies of the regional shortlists, we will be skipping the regional stage to compile and publish a single BEST & BRIGHTEST 2012 anthology. This anthology will be made available both as ebook downloads and in print in paperback format, and both the competitors and those who purchase the anthology will still have their chance to cast their votes, with an extra prize on offer for the author who garners the most popular support!

http://www.best-and-brightest.co.uk/

'Scaling things back a bit' is something of an understatement - were there simply not enough publishable entries, or did New Dawn realize that the original plan would have led to financial disaster?

shaldna
06-03-2012, 11:50 PM
Either not enough entries or not enough money.

Either way, it was clear to see that this wasn't going to work from the get go.

CaoPaux
12-02-2013, 10:34 PM
... Unfortunately though, we didn't receive enough acceptable submissions by the deadline to publish all eight of the BEST & BRIGHTEST 2013 regional anthologies we had planned, and as such we had to cancel this year's competition. We apologise to those people who did submit entries to us, and wish them all the best for the future.

Still publishing other stuff, though.

CaoPaux
05-04-2016, 07:23 PM
Site's gone. Last book pubbed '14. Also in '14, changed its name to Sycamore Publishers Ltd., but no sign anything came of it before it dissolved last month.