View Full Version : Swimming Kangaroo Books

02-20-2007, 04:00 AM

I think they look quite good for a small e-publisher with a print option. I wold be interested in hearing other people's thoughts.

02-20-2007, 05:11 AM
Seem about inline with other e-pubs.

02-20-2007, 08:59 AM
Looks okay to me.

The only thing that bugged me was: We do welcome requests for use of copyright material. I'd be looking for an explanation of that.

02-21-2007, 01:49 AM

I think they look quite good for a small e-publisher with a print option. I wold be interested in hearing other people's thoughts.

I guy I met at the BFS convention in Nottingham, UK, last year has had his second book, Lightening Days, published by them. He rated them at the time. His name is Colin Harvey and I believe he has a web site that can be googled for contact if you need any info on them.


02-23-2007, 09:36 PM

I think they look quite good for a small e-publisher with a print option. I wold be interested in hearing other people's thoughts.

Just had a word with Colin. His words were that they were 'OK'. Nothing startling in that revelation, but he is having another book published by them later this year and has a proposal with them for a 2008 release date. So they must be doing something right.


03-07-2007, 01:15 AM
Interesting. From their contract (http://www.swimmingkangaroo.com/contract.doc):
Contract may be terminated by either the author or publisher with a 90-day written, certified mail notice or other receipted or traceable delivery service, and all rights granted the publisher will revert to Author at the time of the termination. If in the event of termination by the Author, the Publisher has not recovered the costs of publication and promotion of the Work, the Author will be required to reimburse the Publisher for any unrecovered costs. Such costs may include but are not limited to the following:

1. Cover Art
2. Purchase of ISBN
3. Filing of Copyright
4. Printing costs
5. Advertising and promotion

Costs will NOT include overhead costs such as:

1. Webhosting
2. Administrative costs
3. Editing
4. Staff time
5. Software costs
6. Bank charges

Within 30 days of the Authorís termination of this Agreement, the Publisher shall present the author with an itemized statement of expenses and income pertaining to the Work. Author shall pay to the Publisher within 30 days of receipt of this statement the balance of the difference between the expenses and income, if any.

Upon this termination, Publisher will remove listing of the Work from its website and all download-based distributors and advise Books in Print that that particular ISBN is no longer in print. The exception to this termination of contract is that Publisher may continue to sell existing stock of physical formats (diskettes, CD's, cassette tapes, print books) but may not create new physical copies upon depletion of its existing stock.
If our more contract-savvy folks could comment?

03-21-2007, 08:17 PM
'allo? Anyone?

Or does it go without saying that signing a contract which exposes you to "costs of publication and promotion" (upon termination or otherwise) is a Bad Idea? :scared:

08-15-2007, 07:44 AM
Does anyone know anything about this small press? The website looked legit, but I wanted an outside source.


08-15-2007, 07:47 AM

ETA: Is this it (http://www.swimmingkangaroo.com/)?

08-15-2007, 07:58 AM

James D. Macdonald
08-15-2007, 10:05 AM
Standard questions: Have you personally ever read any of their books? Have you seen any on the shelves in bookshops?

08-15-2007, 10:30 AM
With the exception of one small paragraph about e-books, their guidelines talk mainly about short stories.

David I
08-15-2007, 11:37 AM
They have apparently published novels, but here are the purchasing options for one of the novels on their website:

1) MS Word Format $4.99
2) HTML Format $4.99
3) Adobe Reader Format $4.99
4) MOBI Format $4.99
5) Paperback $10 + s/h

They don't describe their distribution system. Now, Uncle Jim's essential and eternal question (have you seen their books in bookstores?) is a good one, though you may miss some very solid small publishers by using this criterion unless you scan the shelves very carefully. Soho Press, for example, or Akashic, or Soft Skull, or Kunati; and, up until the success of The Time-Traveler's Wife, you might have missed MacAdam/Cage, too. Medallion Press usually has a book or two in a decent-sized bookstore, but you might not notice in browsing the shelves.

I'd suggest going onto Borders.com, visiting their Store Locator, and using their Search Inventory option--it lets you scan the holdings of up to six Borders stores at a time. Put in a title and see what you find.

The fact that the first four options are all nontraditional, electronic copies makes me suspect that these folks are not exactly breaking down the glass doors of Barnes & Noble and stuffing their books onto the shelves.

I see no evidence of a scam, but I'd be reluctant to place a novel of mine here if I wanted a wide readership.

Chicken Warrior
08-16-2007, 10:04 AM
I've heard that the owners of this small press are very involved in marketing, both online and in-person. I know for a fact that they attend several writing confrences across the country, and I believe they make an effort to sell books to the indie publishers they pass by (and possibly the chains, too), which is more than can be said for many epubs.

I've talked to authors published with them who are very happy with SK. I've read excerpts, which seem clean enough, and the covers are often above average.

Given, this is still primarily an electronic publisher.

It's also a bit strange to sell copies in MS Word. Obviously these ebooks aren't pirate-protected (although there's a way to get around these locks with all software if you're determined).

08-27-2007, 09:49 PM
<obsolete link snipped>

Does their contract still expose the author to cost(s) of production?

Chicken Warrior
08-28-2007, 02:54 AM
Only if the contract is terminated, which was always the case. They never charged for publication.

08-28-2007, 02:56 AM
I met some SK folks at EPICon, seemed like a good epublisher with POD option.

J. R. Tomlin
08-30-2007, 12:34 AM
I'm sending this publisher a ms for a novel that is too short for most publishers--bad planning on my part but I like it the length that it is, so I wasn't willing to bring it up to 75k from the current 60k. Anyway, any additional info on this publisher would be appreciated. Thanks.

08-30-2007, 02:34 AM
Choice of an e/POD depends a lot on genre. SK are good, straightforward, but small without the potential for store distribution. I would suggest getting an idea of their sales volumes from other authors.

J. R. Tomlin
08-30-2007, 03:44 AM
One of the difficulties I have found in looking at this kind of publisher is the lack of information. I'm not sure that talking to another author at SK would tell me what sales to expect anymore than talking to an author at EOS would tell me what sales to expect from them, if they bought one of my novels. What happens to one novel isn't at all necessarily what happens to another. I don't see that the large chains are picking up SK novels. I have heard that the company does market them at least to indies so I really don't know whether or not there is the potential for store distribution.

We have all heard the horror stories about what happens with some of these small companies though, so I'm cautious. I am also concerned about if a sale to a small press will make it less likely that I can sell to a large press later.

I don't mean to be argumentative. :)

Just a bit baffled on how to get worthwhile information and deciding which way to go with this novel. The two small presses that saw it wanted to look at it, but I wonder if it might be better to just trunk it rather than end up in a situation that actually hurts me down the line.

08-30-2007, 03:49 AM
In my experience, which includes collecting sales data on over a hundred ebooks from over a dozen epublishers, is that yes--sales by other authors in your genre will tell you what to expect to a large extent--more than any other single variable. Sales within a genre, with a specific publisher, are remarkably consistent. Sales within an author but between publishers are remarkably different. Certainly on the level of whether you will sell dozens, hundred or thousands of copies.

J. R. Tomlin
08-30-2007, 03:53 AM
Interesting. Considering the wide gap between the sales of novels within the genre (let's just say not everyone sells as many as Jordan or Goodkind), I would have thought otherwise. But I can't claim expertise on the subject.

I'll look into talking to one of their authors.

I still don't feel comfortable selling to a small press, and am having serious second thoughts on the subject. I am very concerned that this may make it impossible to sell to one of the majors later, but that belongs in another thread. :)


08-30-2007, 03:58 AM
Within a genre, within that publisher. So whatever genre you are, talk to authors at SK in that genre.

So fantasy at Tor will sell in the same general range (10s to 100's of thousands, I imagine). I don't know Swimming Kangaroos numbers at all--but e-pods in general sell in the low to mid hundreds, a few into the low single digit thousands and very rare ones higher than that (within the first year or two--they do stay on sale longer)

For example, Piers Anthony gives some of his sales at small e-PODs and they are in the normal range for that kind of press not up aroudn the level of his mass market stuff.

J. R. Tomlin
08-30-2007, 04:06 AM
Well, Goodkind and Jordan are within the same genre as other fantasy novelists at their same pub (Tor I think, but won't swear to it). But as I said, I will see about talking to one of their authors. The more I think about the entire thing, the more uneasy I get.

I don't want to get into only being able to sell to small pubs which is very much what I am afraid might happen. I am frankly more concerned about that than sales from the novel in question, since I'm hard at work on two longer ones.

Edit: I really am not trying to be argumentative. I'm just very uneasy about this whole thing of submitting to a small press. It's making me itch. :/

Thanks very much for the information and suggestion.

08-30-2007, 04:29 AM
I am obviously happy with smaller presses but it is crucial authors go to them with the right expectations rather than something like being in a hurry.

J. R. Tomlin
08-30-2007, 05:30 AM
I might end up happy with them, too. Who knows? No disrespect intended for the ones who publish with them. I'm just a bit clueless on the entire subject, and not terribly comfortable with it for that reason.

Thanks again for the replies.

J. R. Tomlin
08-30-2007, 07:33 AM
Well, I have to say that in the very little time I have been dealing with SK, they have been amazingly nice. I was quite surprised when the owner helped me to contact some of their authors to ask my questions. I was very surprised and pleased. I had read they were nice people, and I can confirm that much. Whether they end up publishing my novel or not, dealing with them has been a very pleasant experience.

Edit: I have also gotten very positive emails from several of their authors.

I wanted to expand on the above. I have exchanged emails with about half a dozen of the Swimming Kangaroo authors with the encouragement of the owner. They have had uniformly positive comments, including the comment from one of their more experienced authors that they do a pretty good job of marketing for a very small press. I don't have their permission to go into detail about their emails, but not one had negative comments and they ranged from mildly positive to glowing.

01-22-2008, 12:50 AM
After talking with 5 of their authors who rated them anywhere between Ok up to fantastic, I did indeed sign with them in spite of that clause. They seem to do a good job on their books. I looked at several of them and was impressed with the covers and editing. They also seem to work hard at marketing which is always difficult for the micropresses.

I don't know what an expert would have done since I'm not. :)

Christine N.
01-22-2008, 01:36 AM
It doesn't look like a terrible clause. It's basically a kill fee, but not. They're saying, it seems, that if they put out the money for the art, ISBN, copyright, etc..and you, the author, change your mind about publishing with them, then they want to be reimbursed for their money and time.

Which doesn't seem unreasonable to me, especially if they really are doing marketing and promotion. If I was promoting something for sale and it suddenly wasn't available, through no fault of my own, I'd want compensation too. Essentially it's the author breaking the contract, and there should be a penalty for it, especially if the other party has lived up to their end of it.

It's one of those CYA clauses I would be aware of, but doubt is ever used.

FWIW, I have a SK book here, waiting for me to read and review. The cover art is very nice and quality is standard trade paperback. Once I get around to reading it, I'll let you know what I think.

01-22-2008, 04:33 AM
That was how I read it, Christine. They're a small company and can't afford to not be reinbursed. I did ask Dindy, the owner, about the clause, and that was her explanation. She said they are willing to let authors out of the contract if they get a better deal but can't afford to take a loss on it. Seemed reasonable to me. But like I said, I'm not exactly an expert. :)

I compared it to some published "form" contracts from MWA and others and it looked very similar otherwise. So I felt pretty comfortable. I just signed it two weeks ago though, so obviously I can't say much beyond that.

01-22-2008, 08:12 AM
Ive met up with them before ... they arent too bad by all accounts but their book covers are really awful lol..!


01-22-2008, 10:18 AM
I guess it's a matter of preference. I kind of liked the ones I saw. That may mean that I like awful book covers, though. LOL

And their authors seem happy with them.

Edit: I should say "other authors" but I'm so early in the process I have trouble thinking of myself in those terms and can't tell yet how things are going to go. But so far I feel good about the whole thing.

Christine N.
01-22-2008, 02:29 PM
I dunno, jules. The one I have here is very nice. Nicely balanced, decent artwork, good coloring. Definitely not clip art.

Elaine Isaak
06-23-2008, 06:23 PM
I've just been offered a contract by Swimming Kangaroo. Wondered if you-all (especially the SKB authors) had anything new to add?

My story is that the first two books came out with Eos (funny, someone mentioned them above), but they declined the third (actually, a bit of a relief, but that's for another time and place). I've done the writing, so I want to get the book out for my fans. At the same time, I'd rather put my serious energy into a different series with a major publisher, so going small press with a book that otherwise won't see print seems like a good option.

So I'm doing some more research on SKB, and hope to talk with Dindy later on.

06-24-2008, 12:16 AM
Elaine, there are a lot of small presses out there, and many of them have a good deal more presence in the SF/fantasy market. I don't know how many others you've approached, but if Swimming Kangaroo is the first or near the first, I'd definitely suggest a lot more looking around before you settle for this offer.

- Victoria

05-19-2010, 11:05 PM
From their submissions page:

We need to come up for air. Everyone knows the economy sucks, and it sucks for us too. We need to take a breather and figure out how to deal with rising costs, reduced income and the general turmoil in the publishing industry. Therefore we are not accepting any new submissions for the indefinite future. Sorry folks! Good luck placing your books elsewhere.

05-20-2010, 12:19 AM
And this is the common problem with any publisher who knows little about the industry and is vastly under capitalized.

05-20-2010, 12:50 PM
And this is the common problem with any publisher who knows little about the industry and is vastly under capitalized.

To be fair, they've been around since 2006. They may be undercapitalised, but having survived four years one hopes they know a little something about the industry. At least they didn't take the author mill route instead.

05-20-2010, 05:53 PM
I agree, nkkingston, to a point. But to say that someone is closing their doors because "the economy sucks" tells me they didn't figure out how to make sales in these tough economic times.

I don't know if they were a POD press, but if they were the scenario would be something like this: They are without distribution and their ability to get books placed on the shelves is greatly hindered. Add the invariable returns to the mix, and now you have no income. The only hope left is to depend on one's authors to buy their own books. Obviously the authors' financial situations aren't very good either, so now the publisher is left without any way to increase their bottom line. What choice does the publisher have but to say, "the economy sucks"?

01-24-2012, 05:33 AM
Last books published July '10, no further activity.