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Hermian
07-05-2013, 07:31 PM
I'm not sure where to post my question. I'll put it here. Apologies in advance if I'm in the wrong place. Context first...

You've been rejected by large publishing houses and have almost given up on selling your novel. By accident, you stumble on a new publishing company and decide to submit to them; they seem legit. They come back with a 'yes.' You sign a contract. While you're waiting for your book to go into editing, you discover that the publisher doesn't have the best reputation (at least online).

The publisher is a few years old and got off to a bad start. At first, they were operating like a vanity press more than anything else. However, they've restructured to resemble an indie publisher, and put out a few books during their time in operation. So here is my question:

Would you sell your novel to a publishing company that doesn't seem have the best reputation and hope for the best, or would you put your novel to bed?

jvc
07-05-2013, 07:35 PM
There is only one thing worse than not being published. And that's being badly published.

stormie
07-05-2013, 07:39 PM
I'm not sure where to post my question. I'll put it here. Apologies in advance if I'm in the wrong place. Context first...

You've been rejected by large publishing houses and have almost given up on selling your novel. By accident, you stumble on a new publishing company and decide to submit to them; they seem legit. They come back with a 'yes.' You sign a contract. While you're waiting for your book to go into editing, you discover that the publisher doesn't have the best reputation (at least online).

The publisher is a few years old and got off to a bad start. At first, they were operating like a vanity press more than anything else. However, they've restructured to resemble an indie publisher, and put out a few books during their time in operation. So here is my question:

Would you sell your novel to a publishing company that doesn't seem have the best reputation and hope for the best, or would you put your novel to bed?
(Bolding mine.)
Sounds like a wolf in sheep's clothing. If this is you, and you already signed the contract, well.... Otherwise, I'd stay away from that publisher.

Hermian
07-05-2013, 08:04 PM
Thanks for answering Stormie and jvc.

I'm very green when it comes to these things. This is my first novel and I wasn't sure how to go about finding a publisher. Flailing in the dark is the best way of describing how I went about it all.

I probably made the publisher sound really bad, but they're not. Just started off wobbly, it seems. They've put out some nice books since, and their cover art has improved by leaps and bounds. The editor is quite skilled. They have a fair contract and they are friendly to work with. But their reputation online bugs me. I'm not sure whether it should.

I've been told by other writers (two quite famous ones) to just publish and move on to my next project. I'm confused.

I wish I had found this forum before. Would have saved me a lot of trouble.

Barbara R.
07-05-2013, 08:31 PM
I wish you'd found it sooner, too. So many writers getting snapped up by predatory "publishers."

It should be easy to tell if your publisher is a vanity press or small independent. Have they ever asked you for money in any form for any service? Do they require that you buy a certain number of copies yourself? If the answer to either is yes, then I'm afraid the publisher is still a vanity press.

Amadan
07-05-2013, 08:35 PM
I probably made the publisher sound really bad, but they're not. Just started off wobbly, it seems. They've put out some nice books since, and their cover art has improved by leaps and bounds. The editor is quite skilled. They have a fair contract and they are friendly to work with. But their reputation online bugs me. I'm not sure whether it should.

Nice cover art doesn't mean much. Any talented kid with Photoshop can produce a nice cover. And most people are friendly while taking your money.

A bad online reputation is probably not for nothing. Check out the Bewares and Background checks here.

If it turns out they are in fact a bad publisher, then back out. If you've already signed a contract, well, sorry, write it off as a learning experience and work on your next book.

Hermian
07-05-2013, 08:51 PM
It should be easy to tell if your publisher is a vanity press or small independent. Have they ever asked you for money in any form for any service? Do they require that you buy a certain number of copies yourself? If the answer to either is yes, then I'm afraid the publisher is still a vanity press.

Barbara, they haven't taken my money. The process so far seems to be similar to what my writing friends have gone through. I kind of fell into writing my book without any aspirations to be an author, yet I'm starting to panic. I wonder if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. I'm not sure.

The publisher has a handful of books that are doing well. My biggest concern is the reputation they had when they were starting up. With the permanency of info on the internet, their past mistakes seem to be following them around.

These responses have been very helpful. I checked out the Bewares and Background section and the publisher is not listed there. I guess that is one less worry.

Amadan
07-05-2013, 09:07 PM
Barbara, they haven't taken my money. The process so far seems to be similar to what my writing friends have gone through. I kind of fell into writing my book without any aspirations to be an author, yet I'm starting to panic. I wonder if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. I'm not sure.

Do you mean they haven't taken your money yet or they aren't asking for money?


The publisher has a handful of books that are doing well.

How do you know this? How do you define "doing well"?


These responses have been very helpful. I checked out the Bewares and Background section and the publisher is not listed there. I guess that is one less worry.

Or it means there isn't much known about them.

Hermian
07-05-2013, 09:35 PM
Hi Amaden,

To clarify, they're not asking for money at all. Everything about the process seems the same as my author friends. Submit manuscript, acceptance, contract with details of royalties, etc, editing, distribution, and so on.

Doing well to me (I'm probably being naive here) is having a sustained record of sales and good reviews. I'm not certain what else would qualify as 'doing well'.

This is what it comes down to:
1. They started off not really knowing the ropes, it seems.
2. Over the last few years they've changed their business model to one that is similar to an independent publisher and not self-publishing.
3. The Chief Editor has a blog and she tends to be condescending in her responses to the people who critique the company or question what she says. Her behavior seems unprofessional to me.
4. I've been conversing with them over the past few days and expressed my concerns. They've offered to release me from my contract, but my fear is that it will take me another two years to publish this thing.

I've never thought of myself as an author, but I do write for a newspaper and am picky about what I publish. So being attached to a company with a Chief Editor who comes across as unprofessional bugs me.

I'm sorry to be blabbering on like this, but I'm looking for advice on what other writers would do in this kind of situation. Basically, I'm wondering whether I should ask to be released from my contract. The downside is going through querying again and again. *ugh*

:Shrug:

jvc
07-05-2013, 09:55 PM
It might be worth while starting a thread in the Bewares section of AW about this publisher.

Old Hack
07-05-2013, 10:55 PM
If you like you could send me a link to the publisher's website, by private message (and in confidence, of course), and I'll take a look and see if I can spot any obvious red flags.

ETA: meanwhile, I'll move this to the Round Table, as I think it probably fits better in there than in Publishing Resources.

ironmikezero
07-05-2013, 10:56 PM
Trust your gut... you may just dodge a bullet.

Follow jvc's advice re: start a thread in Bewares.

If anyone has experience with this publisher and they're willing to share it, you'd be wise to take it under consideration.

It's not unusual for an indie publisher to get off to a rocky start - we all make mistakes, and hopefully learn from them. What you need to watch for are those folks who make the same mistake twice... capisce?

Oh! 'Just saw that Old Hack is willing to help you out - you couldn't be in better hands.

LOTLOF
07-06-2013, 12:30 AM
I'm not sure where to post my question. I'll put it here. Apologies in advance if I'm in the wrong place. Context first...

You've been rejected by large publishing houses and have almost given up on selling your novel. By accident, you stumble on a new publishing company and decide to submit to them; they seem legit. They come back with a 'yes.' You sign a contract. While you're waiting for your book to go into editing, you discover that the publisher doesn't have the best reputation (at least online).

The publisher is a few years old and got off to a bad start. At first, they were operating like a vanity press more than anything else. However, they've restructured to resemble an indie publisher, and put out a few books during their time in operation. So here is my question:

Would you sell your novel to a publishing company that doesn't seem have the best reputation and hope for the best, or would you put your novel to bed?

This seems to be one point everyone is missing. Have you actually signed a contract with this company? If you have, even if you have not received an advance, I would think you would be obligated to publish this book with them. I am not a lawyer, but that is sort of the whole purpose of a contract.

If you do decide you don't want to publish with them, but have signed a contract, you will need to see if they would be willing to release you. If not you might need to go through the expense of hiring a lawyer to see what can be done.

kaitie
07-06-2013, 12:40 AM
Honestly, if it was me, just based on the little information you've given, I'd back out of the contract since it's being offered. The fact that the owner is unprofessional would be enough just cause for me.

And honestly, doing so could very well mean the book never gets published. Most first books don't. That's a risk you'd have to take. But you should never let desperation to be published dictate whether or not you sign a contract. Only sign a contract if it's the best choice for the book. There are a lot of companies out there that are outright predatory and take advantage of author desperation.

Decide based on whether or not the company has distribution, has good sales, has proper editing and is run by professionals, the royalties they pay, and so on. If those things are not acceptable, don't go through with it.

Definitely check them out in the Bewares section here, and if there isn't a thread about them already start one. But it sounds to me like even if they're learning the ropes, they're doing so on the backs of their authors and putting their books at risk. As people like to say around here, publisher isn't an entry level position.

jvc
07-06-2013, 12:44 AM
This seems to be one point everyone is missing. Have you actually signed a contract with this company?
Hermian said they offered to release him from his contract.

slhuang
07-06-2013, 12:46 AM
This seems to be one point everyone is missing. Have you actually signed a contract with this company? If you have, even if you have not received an advance, I would think you would be obligated to publish this book with them. I am not a lawyer, but that is sort of the whole purpose of a contract.

If you do decide you don't want to publish with them, but have signed a contract, you will need to see if they would be willing to release you. If not you might need to go through the expense of hiring a lawyer to see what can be done.

LOTLOF, the OP clarified that the publisher is willing to release her/him from the contract.

OP, I have no real knowledge about publishing. But just from reading your post -- if I were you, my instinct would be to break with the publisher amicably. If you can't find another publisher and you still believe in the book, self-publishing is always an option, and it sounds like it might be the better option in this case anyway even if you don't find another trade pub.

And my other instinct is to listen to what Old Hack says -- take her up on the offer of the PM advice; she has fantastic amounts of publishing knowledge. :)

ETA: And welcome to AW! :welcome:

AphraB
07-06-2013, 12:47 AM
Oh! 'Just saw that Old Hack is willing to help you out - you couldn't be in better hands.
[/I]

Good for you, finding your way here. :hi:

Old Hack
07-06-2013, 01:17 AM
Oh! 'Just saw that Old Hack is willing to help you out - you couldn't be in better hands.



And my other instinct is to listen to what Old Hack says -- take her up on the offer of the PM advice; she has fantastic amounts of publishing knowledge.

Creeps, the pair of you.

FluffBunny
07-06-2013, 01:48 AM
Creeps, the pair of you.

Thirding the advice to listen to Old Hack. :P :D (<-- just so the emoticons are clear, I'm just neener-ing at Old Hack due to her reaction to ironmikezero and slhuang. It really is most excellent advice.)

jvc
07-06-2013, 01:54 AM
I wouldn't mind giving Old Hack a good neener-ing. Err, that didn't sound right.

Phaeal
07-06-2013, 01:58 AM
Old Hack shoots innocent mice and birds and then tries to justify it by saying, "That's what cats do."

Otherwise, she's cool.

If you're passionate about the book in question and aren't satisfied with the publisher who's accepted it, I'd suggest withdrawing, putting the book aside a while, then rereading it with as cool an eye as you can manage. You may come up with ideas for revision that will get you a publisher you can jump up and down about.

In the meantime, you can be writing your next book, which is the best remedy for the waiting game blues. :D

Hermian
07-06-2013, 02:27 AM
Thanks for all the helpful and honest advice. I'm pretty sure I know what to do now.

So very happy to have found this forum. Such lovely folks.

:)

slhuang
07-06-2013, 02:36 AM
Creeps, the pair of you.

Guilty as charged. ;)


Thanks for all the helpful and honest advice. I'm pretty sure I know what to do now.

So very happy to have found this forum. Such lovely folks.

:)

I know how you feel, Hermian . . . AW is pretty awesome, isn't it? :D I can't imagine what going forward with my writing would be like right now if I hadn't found it!

AphraB
07-06-2013, 02:59 AM
Old Hack shoots innocent mice and birds and then tries to justify it by saying, "That's what cats do."



You say that like it's a bad thing. ;)

jjdebenedictis
07-06-2013, 06:54 AM
Old Hack shoots innocent mice and birds and then tries to justify it by saying, "That's what cats do."Darn those Canadian gun laws--I wanna see a cat shoot a bird!


It's just not the same when they use throwing knives.

Susan Littlefield
07-06-2013, 06:55 AM
:welcome: Hermian.

In addition to all the wonderful wisdom you have received in this conversation, I would like to encourage you to look up any publishers at these websites prior to submission:

Preditors and Editors (http://pred-ed.com/peba.htm) and Writers Beware (http://www.accrispin.blogspot.com/).

Personally, if I were in your shoes, I would run fast.


I've been told by other writers (two quite famous ones) to just publish and move on to my next project. I'm confused.

Fame or no fame, those writers have given you bad advice. Why? Our sage, JVC, said it best:



There is only one thing worse than not being published. And that's being badly published.

Polenth
07-06-2013, 10:39 AM
Something to keep in mind for the future with small startups... even if they have no bad press, it doesn't mean it's a good deal. It doesn't mean they'll sell more books than you would by self-publishing. So not finding anything bad shouldn't be enough to submit to them.

Old Hack
07-06-2013, 11:36 AM
I suspect the people who suggested you publish and move on knew you'd signed the contract, but didn't realise the publisher had offered to cancel the contract.

Hermian
07-06-2013, 08:53 PM
I suspect the people who suggested you publish and move on knew you'd signed the contract, but didn't realise the publisher had offered to cancel the contract.

I think you're right. And I'm not saying that because you're a cat with a mean looking gun. I mean it, I really do...

:Hail:

And Susan, I'll definitely go through the sections you suggested.

Thank you.