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View Full Version : Evaluating an offer from a small press.



knikkki
01-18-2006, 03:22 AM
Has anybody seen/heard of an offer like this? Any comments?

If you have visited our website, you probably know that we are a small publisher, publishing "bizarro" material--surreal, experimental, and for us, we tend toward the absurd. I think your novel fits well into this category. Because we are a smaller press, we work more cooperatively with our authors. We would expect you to do a lot of your own publicity, and to also include material about our other books and authors in what you do. In return for this, we'll offer you a much higher percentage than the usual. Here is how we work. We put out all the initial costs to get the book out there: editing, formatting, printing, etc. We'll get the book listed at Amazon and mainline sources, so that bookstores and libraries can easily order it. We also use a variety of online speciality stores, such as shocklines, project pulp, and genre mall. All the first profits go to cover these costs. When those costs are paid, then we will split profits with you 50-50.

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I have read this publishers books, so I know they print and are legitimate, just wondering what the knee jerk reaction to this kind of offer is. AND ... if it is my only chance to get my book published, without self-publishing, should I go for it?

maestrowork
01-18-2006, 03:39 AM
Sounds bad.

Publisher puts up the cost, not the authors. Anyone can get it up on Amazon.com. What about distribution? Do you have to sell it yourself?

Just because you've read their books doesn't mean they're legit. Who is the publisher? Many people on this board, such as Victoria, can probably tell you if they're a legit or not. The deal sounds shady to me. It's definitely not industry standard.

Cathy C
01-18-2006, 03:49 AM
Some things about this sound okay, but others squirrely. The stuff that sounds okay to me:


1. Doing a lot of your own publicity. Small press authors often have to do local marketing to get the word out about niche books. But maestro is right that you need to find out what sort of distribution they use for the books.

2. Including material about other books and authors in your books. Sure. Every publisher does that, as promo pages at the end of your book, inside the back cover, for other author's works in a "line" or "imprint." But if they mean that you have to HAWK other people's books as part of your "job", then no. You shouldn't have to do this. You need to get clarification of this point. It's not clear.

The stuff that sounds squirrely:

1. 50/50 after costs are paid? Ick. Who determines what "costs" are? Does that mean paper, ink, printing -- or the owner's new boat? These costs should be clearly laid out in the contract if you want to agree to this, so that there's a clear end date when the costs are PAID and you start to get money.

2. I don't like that they say that all of the "profits" go toward the costs. This means that they're double dipping. They're likely paying 50% on NET proceeds to begin with, and then taking YOUR percentage to pay for MORE costs. Look at it this way: If the book retails for $10.95, and they claim the "costs" to print are $4.00 per book, the "profit" is $6.95. You get half of that. They would then TAKE that half, giving them the entire cover price until they feel like paying you again. At least, this is how it reads. Find out if they are paying on net sales or list price/gross sales/cover price (same meaning). If it's net, walk the other way. If it's gross, follow my suggestion in #1.

Is a deal like this the only way to get a deal? Nope. There are plenty of legitimate small presses that do odd/weird things. Check out the humor section of your local chain bookstore for some of the strange stuff that's put out every day.

Julie Worth
01-18-2006, 04:13 AM
Sounds bad.

Sounds like Eraserhead Press.

knikkki
01-18-2006, 04:25 AM
Close ... Is that bad?

Julie Worth
01-18-2006, 04:33 AM
Eraserhead: WICKEDLY SURREAL * INSANELY ABSURD * POST-POSTMODERN * OFFBEAT AND NASTY * EXOTIC SPECULATION * DARKLY INTELLIGENT * PSYCHO-SEXUAL ANARCHISM * EXPERIMENTALISM OF THE WILDEST VARIETY


Good!

victoriastrauss
01-18-2006, 09:44 PM
We would expect you to do a lot of your own publicity, and to also include material about our other books and authors in what you do.Bad enough that you're expected to act as an unpaid sales force for your own books, but that you also have to hawk the publisher's other books...Very unprofessional. Plus, authors don't have access to the marketing channels of the book trade, so the kinds of things you'll be able to do--arrange booksignings, beg reviews, maybe get an interview or two--will not result in significant sales.

In return for this, we'll offer you a much higher percentage than the usual.A higher royalty percentage on a book that only sells a few dozen copies doesn't mean much. Also, is that high percentage on gross (the cover price) or net (the money the publisher actually gets for the book)? If on net, that "high" percentage isn't as high as you think.
When those costs are paid, then we will split profits with you 50-50.Does this mean you won't get paid anything until the book recoups its publication costs? If so, this is a vanity publisher.

- Victoria

UrsusMinor
01-20-2006, 05:23 AM
You might think you're already doing that, and you are...but you should also try and contact some of their writers and see what their experience has been. (If they really do a lot of their own publicity, then many of them may have websites.)

Even if they respond, and respond favorably, that won't solve all of your problems; some PublishAmerica authors continue to shout the praises of that publisher. But talking to some of the published authors from this press might give you more of a clue.

Miss Snark has some things to say about small-press royalty/profit calcs that may be of use: http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2005/12/get-net.html

Good luck!