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citymouse
09-27-2006, 05:16 PM
I have a couple of questions for those who have POD experience. Has anyone here produced a POD product and then gone on to have a second or more books published by a traditional house?
I ask because I have two books in my Jan Phillips series out now via POD. One is with iUniverse and one is with Author House. I have a third completed, edited and ready to go.

How many, if any, have found that having a POD book helped or hindered the process of getting an agent / publisher? Or is that situation a wash?
Is it relevant?Thanks for your attention.

Anthony Ravenscroft
09-28-2006, 02:32 AM
Look at it from an editor's POV.

What's to prevent those other companies from piggybacking on the publicity that we provide? Nothing. It's not unusual that authors work under different names from house to house for that reason. If the lead character's shared across houses, that's an even more likely question.

If our book catches on, how easy will it be for my house to get the rights to the rest of the series? If they cling like barnacles, demanding large payments &/or years of waiting, that's more black marks against signing you up.

Read your contracts very carefully. Then, if you're serious, withdraw them before you offer further books to commercial houses. Or at least start an unrelated series.

citymouse
09-28-2006, 02:52 AM
Both iUniverse and Author House have non-exclusive clauses in their contracts. Both books are copyrighted in my name. Since the books are sub-titled A Jan Phillips Novel his character is also copyrighted.
I should say too that both contracts are due to expire in 07. I won't be renewing them.

Anthony Ravenscroft
09-28-2006, 11:36 AM
Er, um, well...
meet Jan Phillips (http://www.janphillips.com/)

As for the "nonexclusive" bit, few publishers enjoy the idea of sharing rights in the first place, since these often get very messy, particularly for subsidiary development. Even if you sell to (say) Bantam, you may well retain copyright, but that doesn't mean you're free to sell the same book to Forge. Don't simply assume that the books come back to you just because you avoid renewal.

citymouse
09-28-2006, 03:20 PM
Anthony, I'm not going to get too deep into this because we're straying away from the basic question. However, when I read your "meet Jan Phillips" I had to laugh. My Jan Phillips is a man. Jan is Dutch for John. His character is completely fictional. Because the name appears in the subtitle and because it refers directly to the character it is copyrighted and can't be pirated in a way that exploits the plot lines. That's all I meant by that.

As I said before, the contracts come due in 07 (January I believe). I always try to time releases for the first of the year. I love anniversaries.
My contract states clearly that the POD outfits have a year to release the books. That's not long since it may take that and more to land a deal. A few of my contacts who have used these companies all say that they got their rights back immediately when the contracts ended. I'm not worried about that.

I'm also toying with combining the three into one volume under an all inclusive title. And yes, there will be a big ole notice for the unsuspecting who may have bought the first two books that they are contained in this work. I'm not out to snow anyone. This last idea is juat that. It's not a serious consideration at the moment.




Er, um, well...
meet Jan Phillips (http://www.janphillips.com/)

As for the "nonexclusive" bit, few publishers enjoy the idea of sharing rights in the first place, since these often get very messy, particularly for subsidiary development. Even if you sell to (say) Bantam, you may well retain copyright, but that doesn't mean you're free to sell the same book to Forge. Don't simply assume that the books come back to you just because you avoid renewal.

citymouse
09-28-2006, 04:07 PM
I just reread my original posting and perhaps I didn't make myself clear so I'll clean up the thought.

I have two books out via POD.
I have a third finished and as yet unpublished.
How much impact (positive or negative) on a prospective agent or publisher would there be on the third book by having the first two as POD products?I'm not interested in having the first two reissued either via POD or "traditional" means. I am letting them go out of print.

jchines
09-28-2006, 04:26 PM
Is the third book a standalone? I'm assuming and hoping so, based no your last post. If that's the case, my guess is editors and agents won't care at all about the POD books. Unless you sold thousands of copies and have a large and loyal following, it just doesn't matter.

If the third book doesn't stand on its own, you may have a problem.

citymouse
09-28-2006, 05:15 PM
All three books stand alone. Think James Bond. The main difference with my character is that he ages throughout the series whereas James is ageless. No I'm not comparing myself to Fleming. In my books Mundus (read Spectre) represents the good guys. And my MC is gay and monogamous; unlike Fleming's womanizer, James. I will say that reading the series in order is a good thing but not necessary. If you pick up one of Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley series you can read them just fine but certain nuances will be missed. I know this because I've read them all in order, but doing so is not necessary for a good read.

GHF65
09-28-2006, 06:22 PM
As I said before, the contracts come due in 07 (January I believe). I always try to time releases for the first of the year. I love anniversaries.
My contract states clearly that the POD outfits have a year to release the books. That's not long since it may take that and more to land a deal. A few of my contacts who have used these companies all say that they got their rights back immediately when the contracts ended. I'm not worried about that.



Nuh-uh. Check my post in the iUniverse thread. I just contacted them about my contract, which should expire at the end of November (I liked the pre-holiday release date--my best sales were that first Christmas). It doesn't just expire. You have to tell them in writing that you want it to end. Without any input from you or a decision by them to end it from their side, they will continue to renew it indefinitely. If you have plans to do something with your books after the technical end of your contract, you'd better get cracking. They require 30 days' notice in writing (I would send it certified, return-receipt-requested). I'll be happy to share the email responses I got from their author services representative so you can see I'm not misinterpreting them.

How have your sales been going? Just curious. Why did you choose two different POD companies? Why those two?

You want to go mainstream next time, and you're concerned about how a mainstream acquisitions editor will view your POD past. I just did all of this. I'm not going to rehash it all here (somewhere my posts on this are still hanging on the board). Suffice it to say, I wouldn't mention to the mainstream publisher in your query that you POD'd two previous volumes. Knock his socks off with your presentation, wait for the new book to be picked up, then later, when you've proved you are a seller, bring up the prospect of re-publishing the first two titles. You might find that you have a winner. But don't expect the titles to just "go out of print". You need to see to that yourself.

Just my humble opinion.

citymouse
09-28-2006, 07:06 PM
Thanks Joanne. I'm aware of the contract limitations and advantages. When I said I would let the books go out of print I should have added that I would see to it.
I hadn't planned on mentioning my POD connection. I was curious if publishers are naturally biased toward POD authors. You know the stigma so I won't iterate it here.

I went with Author House the second time at the urging of a writer friend who has used them for his own books. Their finished product is comparable to iU and their PSA people are easier to contact--no email only as with iU.

Saying that, however, their production staff is difficult to work with. My partner is a professional designer. He did both POD covers. The iU book came out slick as anything. The AH people pushed back at every turn demanding more $$ for each change that they initiated! In some cases they changed fonts; even though we used their suggested fonts. They altered colors and hues.
To add injury to insult the accidentally printed the uncorrected galley! I had no idea this had happened until an irate reader blasted me for a crappy book. It was weeks before the presses were stopped. I sat on Amz, B&N and every on-line catalog carrying my book. Every time I found a used copy come up I bought it. In the end I rounded up about two dozen copies in just a few days.
AH said that I could just let the book lay dormant or I could let it proceed to press or I could cancel the contract and then sign another contract at the original agreement cost. Since I had invested in professional editing, press releases, personal appearances at meet the author venues, I had little choice. I signed again. The AH experience minus the editor's fee and buying all those books back was a whopping $1,400.

You want to know what bothers me most about it all? The second book is a better written work. We do get better don't we? However, the first book continues to out sell the second 2:1.

I won't do another POD book. I'm putting my energy into finding someone who can appreciate a what I know is a unique treatment of a fictional gay character.

GHF65
09-29-2006, 06:14 PM
I wish you luck, Citymouse. It certainly sounds as if you've paid your dues! $1400 to PA is a chunk of change that has got to stick in memory.

citymouse
10-02-2006, 03:49 PM
Thanks for the sentiment SchoolM--. PA? I hope you don't mean Publish America. My second book is with Author House aka AH.

On a happier note. There's a Zen saying that what you can visualize you can actualize. Well as I typing out my original inquiry I thought that what I really need is an agent so I can shed this POD thing. Well dontcha know I got an email from an author friend who put me in touch with a NYC editor. This man has contacts galore. He wants to read my latest ms. He said after he reads it he will either suggest I take up cat hair macramé or come to his office for a day and discuss a path forward. This man, who is credited with discovering some big names, is just about a up there as you can get. No matter how this turns out, I'll send my writer friend a case of whatever he drinks as a thank you--I hope it's Kool-Aid.
Needless to say I haven't slept in two days!



I wish you luck, Citymouse. It certainly sounds as if you've paid your dues! $1400 to PA is a chunk of change that has got to stick in memory.

GHF65
10-03-2006, 08:27 PM
Ooooo! Sorry, Citymouse! That was a Freudian slip.

Do keep us posted, won't you? I love vicarious success.