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BrookieCookie777
06-01-2007, 10:40 PM
Has anyone heard if JSC Books or Journey Stone Creations is going belly up?

RedandWolf
06-02-2007, 01:24 AM
Well, their website doesn't say anything about it. From all accounts they seem to still be up and running.

Poison Pen
06-03-2007, 01:28 AM
No, Journey Stone is not going out of business. Nor are they bankrupt. Instead, they have changed their direction. Just recently they decided they will no longer publish books for the general marketplace, in favor of pursuing custom-made projects instead. The decision was an abrupt one, and as a result, they are dishonoring all contracts with all authors who had books pending with them. Authors, like me, who have have sent countless e-mails in search of answers, only for their e-mails to go ignored, should be receiving their releases in the mail soon. How do I know this......because when I failed to receive information and artwork and a press release, as was promised to me only a few weeks ago, for my book that was supposed to have been released this month (May 07), I called the office to ask what was happening. This was the third failed release date in a row, as the book was supposedly coming out in fall/06, then it was delayed till March 07, then it was delayed again until May 07, with JSC citing various "printer problems" here and there. During this time I was offered 3 (three) letters of intent for 3 more of my books. Only 7 weeks ago they assured me everything was back on track and sent me a contract for a second book, leaving letters of intent in place for the remaining two books. Altogether these four books formed a small series, and I was told two would be released in 2007, the other two pending in 2008. While I've waited for the release of the first book, I have done a ton of promotion, securing deals for sales with school boards and libraries, plus promotional promises from a parenting magazine. I even went so far as to register for an appearance at a prominent upcoming book event, in order to hype the series, especially as I was "promised" the first book would be ready to go on time, and I would have a large supply on hand to feature at my booth. Now I have to go back to all of these companies/events and explain that the contracts were suddenly cancelled, with no kill fee to speak of, and the company is "sorry that they overextended themselves by taking on far too many contracts." Apparently, they did not consider the contracts binding, and had to 'do what was best for the company', including dishonoring advances. If money was an issue, I suggested they should have honored the contracts already on board, but refused to take on any more, thereby slowly phasing out the general marketplace books, rather than being in breach of contract with several authors and subjecting them to this kind of humiliating treatment. I wish I could locate all authors in the same position to discuss a class action suit.

victoriastrauss
06-03-2007, 06:34 PM
Sounds like a publisher in serious trouble to me.

Writer Beware hasn't yet gotten any complaints about this publisher. Poison Pen, could you write to me directly with the information in your post at beware@sfwa.org? And please encourage others who may have had the same experience to get in touch with me also.

- Victoria

sdent1
06-03-2007, 07:53 PM
Sounds like a publisher in serious trouble to meAnd please encourage others who may have had the same experience to get in touch with me also..

Yes it does SOUND like a publisher in serious trouble doesn't it. It also SOUNDS like mabye you need a little more information which you seem to be seeking. Good on you. I'm reading these post though and going, huh? My debut novel was published by Journey Stone Creations. They promised an advance, I got it. They promised to print 5000 books they did it. They promised the books would be at the BEA in May of 2006 for me to sign and give away 250 (but hinted that they might not show up) but all was fine.

Whoa!

I guess I dodged a bullet. The only real problem I've had with this publisher is that I've had to do all the work to get my book out there. Sadly, that's the case with most new and growing publishers.

But all this I'm reading here. My! My! I'm sure I'd want more information, possbly from the other side. I think I shall call first thing in the morning. Very interesting news here, I must say.

And not that anyone is waiting for my permission, but if it turns out to be all true, true true . . . well, then full speed ahead!

Christine N.
06-03-2007, 07:57 PM
Sdent, publishing, for all that it moves slowly when it comes to production, can change very quickly when it comes to business.

Things that were true a year ago may not be today.

sdent1
06-03-2007, 08:04 PM
So it would seem! I'm just very glad I only signed on to do one book. I'd say that was smart thinking. Although I'm not sure I gave it much thought at the time. :o

I do hope all works out for the others.

Not holding to contracts or promises, *shaking head back and forth at the prospect* Not good. Not good at all!

James D. Macdonald
06-03-2007, 08:10 PM
No, Journey Stone is not going out of business. Nor are they bankrupt. Instead, they have changed their direction.

Point three often precedes point two and point one. In that order.

triceretops
06-04-2007, 02:07 AM
They promised to print 5000 books they did it.

That's an offset print run in anybody's book. The fact that they make the author do all of the pub and sales, speaks volumns about how little they know of business and generating sales. 5,000 books is a whopping expense for a publisher and you would think that they had some type of major marketing/distribution system in place to recoup that investment. A lone author would not have the resources or contacts to sell-through that number unless they had an very big platform, or scheduled appearances on major TV network stations. Find proof that they have warehoused that amount of inventory. Start there. It's easy for a publisher to throw numbers out there.

Tri

victoriastrauss
06-04-2007, 03:02 AM
The only real problem I've had with this publisher is that I've had to do all the work to get my book out there. Sadly, that's the case with most new and growing publishers.Not.

Authors are well-advised to self-promote, no matter who their publisher is. Authors with smaller publishers may have to do more than authors with bigger houses. But any "new" publisher that's serious about being successful will do all it can to market and promote its books, including the behind-the-scenes, pre-publication marketing that's essential for a book to sell in volume. If you find you're having to do ALL the work, there's a problem.

- Victoria

sdent1
06-04-2007, 03:22 AM
Sadly, that's the case with most new and growing publishers.




Not.


Oh, right! Sorry. That did sound a bit like I knew what I was talking about there didn't it, as if I could speak from years of vast experience. *still learning the ropes myself* I should have added, IMO or rather "this is what I've found to be true in my very limited experience as a published author." (though I suppose that is even in question now, eh?)


The only real problem I've had with this publisher is that I've had to do all the work to get my book out there.

Yes, this is the only real problem I've had. But even that's not really a problem for me because I planned on doing it all myself anyway. This was my debut novel. The chances of me selling in volume, even with a good publisher--well, what are the odds. But again, that's just my opinion.

And yikes! I hope that doesn't sound like I'm defending any of what Journey Stone has supposedly done!!! Far from it!

Poison Pen
06-04-2007, 08:50 PM
To SDent - I am familiar with you and your JSC book. I am glad to hear your contract worked out as you had hoped and been promised. But I would think that is because your release took place a full year ago. As much as my news may come as a shock to you, it is no less true. It doesn't just SOUND any particular way. It IS this way, as I have already received a phone call from the owner to substantiate everything I was told the day before by the acquisitions department. The only reason authors are in the dark as yet, is because the contract releases did not go out in the mail until just last week, I was told. According to the "brainchild" of the operation (as proclaimed on the website) the financial picture has changed because they took on far too many contracts without having enough distribution in place to make it worth their while. Duh! They had hoped for 10,000 book print runs per book to compensate for the expensive full color illustrations, but it just wasn't happening. Instead they were getting more along the line of 3000 book print runs. While I can appreciate the expense associated with children's picture books and the need to turn a profit, I am at a loss to understand the business sense behind continuing to offer contracts as recently as a few weeks ago. In hind sight I realize it was naive of me to sign the contract, knowing the first was experiencing setbacks. In my defense, however, I guess that after a full year's worth of promotion on my part, I desperately wanted to believe their most recent correspondence which assured me everything was back on track, especially they went on to enlighten me on what I could expect next. And, silly me, I was under impression that contracts were binding, and since I had very recent correspondence in place to verifiy the contract and current proceedsings, I was under the impression that everything would be alright. But certainly their financial picture didn't appear overnight. This is obviously something that has been brewing for a while. The decision to do something about it may well have been abrupt, but the knowledge that they wished to pursue "custom-made projects" and the research required to do exactly that, is something that must have been in the works for some time.

I'm unsure as to whether this will include existing authors, such as yourself. All I know is that the follow-up e-mail I was sent states:

"Journey Stone Creations has reached a turning point in its development. At the present time, we are becoming very involved in custom-made products with several clients. This new venue is encompassing all of our time and energy. Based on this, we will not be publishing books for the general marketplace.

We are sorry for any disappointment this may cause you, and we wish you the best of luck in future publishing endeavors."


Seemingly they don't expect any backlash from such an abrupt decision. Authors are just supposed to accept it with a grain of salt. All I know is that if the shoe was on the other foot and I had been the one to abruptly back out of a binding contract, leaving them high and dry after a year's work, they would have their legal department (if they have one) all over me like ants on a picnic basket.

sdent1
06-04-2007, 09:11 PM
I'm just so very grateful I didn't sign on for more than one book but that was more of my being a bit wary because this was a new publisher. I'd read of so many others different experiences with new publishers, many on this site and others like it! Some good, some not so good.

Thank-you for sharing all that you shared. So much to watch out for in this business, it seems. I do wish you the best. And I hope you don't think I was questioning your experiences.

Yikes! This was post number 13. *quickly throws cyber salt over shoulder* Whew! That was close.

Poison Pen
06-04-2007, 09:30 PM
To Sdent: Whether or not you signed a second contract is not the point. If you read the quote I posted, taken directly from I e-mail I received from acquisitions, it states they "will NOT be publishing books for the general marketplace." and "this new venue is encompassing ALL of our time and energy." If that is true, then your first contact will be affected, as they will no longer print or promote the book. More than likely, what you have in the way of personal stock of the book, is what you will be left with. leaving you as a victim, too.

jamiehall
06-04-2007, 10:13 PM
Oh, right! Sorry. That did sound a bit like I knew what I was talking about there didn't it, as if I could speak from years of vast experience. *still learning the ropes myself* I should have added, IMO or rather "this is what I've found to be true in my very limited experience as a published author." (though I suppose that is even in question now, eh?)



Yes, this is the only real problem I've had. But even that's not really a problem for me because I planned on doing it all myself anyway. This was my debut novel. The chances of me selling in volume, even with a good publisher--well, what are the odds. But again, that's just my opinion.

And yikes! I hope that doesn't sound like I'm defending any of what Journey Stone has supposedly done!!! Far from it!

Even with a small press, an author should not have to do all the marketing. Publishers that expect this from authors tend to go out of business. Authors who expect this usually are new ones just learning, and their efforts can sometimes even get in the way of the publisher's marketing department. The author's marketing campaign needs to be tailored to the book, the situation, and the readers that can be reached more easily by the author than by the publisher.

Debut novels often do well at a good publisher. Good publishers tend to take on quality debut novels, and it is (relatively) easy to create excitement about a new author who just might be the next big thing. Second and third novels are the ones that are hard to sell, if the first one didn't do well.

Poison Pen
06-04-2007, 10:25 PM
These are not novels we are talking about, nor is it my first venture in the publishing realm. These are children's books - full color illustrated children's books that look much along the line of "Little Golden Books". And, no, the publisher did not expect the author to do all of the promoting. They were big enough that they had a PR department in place, that issued press releases, scheduled book signings and appearances, scheduled interviews, etc. Since most of the promo is US based and I am not located in the US, I chose to pursue local avenues for promotion, which was acceptable to publisher as it did not overlap their efforts or step on anyone's toes.

CaoPaux
06-05-2007, 02:22 AM
http://www.jscbooks.com/index.php

Looks like yet another case of self-publisher thinking that qualifies them to publish others.

Anyone care to exercise 20/20 hindsight and list the red flags?

Poison Pen
06-05-2007, 03:25 AM
Good observation, and no doubt the red flags were there. I just didn't want to see them at the time, especially as this particular publisher came recommended by several writer's sites and several authors. In hind sight; however, flags were flying that indeed something was amiss.

1) several books on the catalogue were written by the owner, listed in the "About Us" section as the "brainchild"

2) The website was not updated regularly.

3) Delayed release dates - no apologies

4) Correspondence went ignored for weeks, sometimes months, sometimes altogether

3) I received a production schedule and release date for the second book, but they hadn't yet issued me a contract for it and didn't seem to realize it.

4) The acquisitions department was rejecting submissions that had already been rejected over a year ago, because they claimed they remained in the pile.

5) The second contract was sent to me with the final page missing. They never noticed and were surprised when I e-mailed to request instruction.

And on and on..........

James D. Macdonald
06-05-2007, 04:48 AM
Add to that: No apparent experience in publishing and planning to put out 200 titles/year after just three years in business.


Journey Stone Creations, LLC was actually started in September, 2003 and then incorporated in January of 2004. The brainchild of Patricia Stirnkorb, she has always dreamed of owning a publishing company. As an avid writer and photographer, Stirnkorb has done a variety of communications projects in the past 20-plus years. However, after publishing four children’s books with another company, the desire to have her own company began to grow.
When she met a local artist, she commissioned her to illustrate a series of books that are now known as the A.W.A. Gang, or Angels with Attitudes. Based on the true-life friendship of a group of ladies, this spirited group of kids became the signature series for Journey Stone Creations, LLC. The name Journey Stone is actually taken from the AWA Gang books, as the earth angels use their own journey stones to get back and forth from heaven to earth.

Journey Stone’s company mission statement is to reach children of all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economic ranges and plant a seed that God is out there and He loves them. Journey Stone originally published inspirational books and then branched off into high-quality moral products, instituting a strong message to parents and children alike—good stories help reinforce good moral values. If the child also meets God in the process, it is an added bonus.

Journey Stone has grown over the last three years from three titles to plans for more than 200 over the next twelve months. We believe it has been because of our dedication to our values and our standards. So come on, Come Grow With Us!

Poison Pen
06-05-2007, 09:56 AM
I just re-read my post.....laughable. Here I am passing judgement when, apparently, I cannot count. I apologize for numbering my points as I did, and for any spelling errors I have made along the way. Seemingly my brain is getting ahead of my fingers. All I can say is, that's frustration for you!!!!!

But at this point I would like to add yet one more point that truly baffles me. As the parent of a young child, I am aware of the price of children's full-color picture books. Therefore, I found it surprising that JSC priced theirs at a mere $2.99 each. Most comparable books in my daughter's collection are at least $3.99, if not double that price. So, if money is an issue, which I was told it was, wouldn't it have made more sense for them to have bumped their prices and tried it that way for a while, as opposed to switching gears and dumping their authors and contracts?

sdent1
06-05-2007, 05:10 PM
Lots being said here and it seems I've said enough.

God Bless.

BrookieCookie777
06-05-2007, 08:56 PM
They are all over Sue Dent like white on rice. Hope she continues to prosper. I'm glad I got out when I did . . . I don't want to be chained to that. Plus - we all signed a first option clause. Let's all just praise Jesus . . . we are free from this bad deal!

BrookieCookie777
06-06-2007, 03:02 AM
I was just reading my previous post and realize that came out all wrong! Sue has won some awards and seems to be getting good reviews. I just hope they don't mess that up for her.

BrookieCookie777
06-06-2007, 10:39 PM
I am an author whose contract has been terminated like so many at JSC Books. They are claiming money troubles or something to that nature. I've been promised a letter to verify I am free and clear of all binding contracts with them, along with an official statement all rights are being returned to me.

I just signed with a top agent to take the book that was dropped and try to sell it. I asked about the letter again yesterday - editor said she'd get back to me in a few hours and see if they have been mailed. Hours past . . . seven hours - wrote back and asked again. Got no response. It's been a day and half since the promised answer to my question.

Is anyone else in the same boat with them or associated with them? Have any of you recieved your letters? I hope they don't leave us high and dry. This will really mess things up for us.

:Hug2: Hugs to all you going thru this craziness!! God bless!

Sassenach
06-06-2007, 10:42 PM
Ask your agent to send a demand letter to the publisher.

BrookieCookie777
06-06-2007, 10:50 PM
Thanks Sass. She and I just signed two weeks ago - will this make me look like a quack - it's something that should have already been done I know. I have an email that says we are being released from the JSC commitment. Will that suffice until my agent and I get this letter?

Thanks Sass. :hi:

Sassenach
06-06-2007, 10:52 PM
I'd want to have the release in writing, not an email promise.

victoriastrauss
06-06-2007, 10:53 PM
I just signed with a top agent to take the book that was dropped and try to sell it.Your agent does know your book was previously published, right? I ask because it seems a bit surprising that an established agent would agree to represent a book whose rights situation was unclear.

If the agent doesn't know, you need to tell her right away.

- Victoria

BrookieCookie777
06-06-2007, 11:01 PM
Thanks Mod. It was never published. All I ever had with them were empty promises. The agent and I met thru one of her other clients and she is aware of the situation. All contracts signed - are being thrown out. They are printing no more mass market books. It's all very bad business on the part of JSC. I'm not a rude person by any means and as bad I would hate to, If they don't hurry with it - I think I'm going to get a lawyer to speed things up.

victoriastrauss
06-06-2007, 11:03 PM
OK, that's good. As long as your agent knows what the deal is. Hope you get that reversion letter soon.

- Victoria

BrookieCookie777
06-06-2007, 11:23 PM
Thanks Victoria. I hope so too! =) I called just a second ago and spoke with someone other than the editor. She says she is going to call me this afternoon. I hope she does!

BrookieCookie777
06-06-2007, 11:25 PM
PS - Victoria, I hope I didn't sound rude! :cry: This situation has been so crazy sometimes when I talk about it - it comes out the wrong way. Sorry if it sounded that way! :Hug2:

PubGuru
06-07-2007, 12:19 AM
FYI:

Journey Stone and a company named Somatic Digital just announced a strategic partnership to produce 17 new titles for a digital platform over the next 12 months. They seem to be targeting the educational marketplace.

To me, this doesn’t suggest a publisher in trouble. It sounds like Journey Stone may no longer be interested in your books because it doesn’t forecast their marketability within their current distribution channels.

I would consider yourself fortunate that they are releasing the rights to your manuscripts. In my experience, most established publishing house contracts would allow them to maintain the rights to your works indefinitely with no guarantees for printing or distribution.

cynfulxx
06-07-2007, 12:42 AM
FYI:
To me, this doesn’t suggest a publisher in trouble. It sounds like Journey Stone may no longer be interested in your books because it doesn’t forecast their marketability within their current distribution channels.

Okay, let's go with the premise that Journey Stone isn't in trouble and their decision to break these two contracts was based on marketability. What does this say about a. their business acumen and b. their treatment of authors?

As recent as 7 weeks ago they signed a contract with an author only to say, sorry we've changed our direction, here are your rights back. This doesn't sound like good business planning.

Promises about book release dates that stretch over 7 months and then suddenly dropping the news that they want to release the author? I would completely understand it if these two authors feel bitter and cheated. Based on signed contracts they had every reason to feel that publication was a certainty, perhaps they've even started promotional efforts (which they should have if they didn't :)) that have cost them time, effort and money . . .

Not a good situation any way you look at it.

BrookieCookie777
06-07-2007, 01:36 AM
Pub - are you a JSC author or do you work there - no one knows this yet but the authors and companies involved. Does anyone else find it fishy this is their first post and it's defending bad treatment of authors? I don't know any writers who would stand for mistreatment unless they had alterior motives.

veinglory
06-07-2007, 02:01 AM
Well, put it together. A new member makes one post supporting a publisher who has recently dropped a lot of author without warning. I am sure they are just a disinterested passerby who likes to support publisher autonomy...

BrookieCookie777
06-07-2007, 02:09 AM
Perhaps your right. :flag:I just wondered how they knew such intamite detail. Anywho, I just hope no one else gets burned. I have no problem being dropped by the publisher - we all were. I will be a happy camper once I have a signed document stating I have full rights again. Everyone at AW will know when that happens . . . I will stop using this smiley :cry: and I will start using this one :partyguy: ! =) Talk to you later Pod . . . must go now . . .the waving shorts just reminded me I need to do some laundry!

James D. Macdonald
06-07-2007, 02:54 AM
In my experience, most established publishing house contracts would allow them to maintain the rights to your works indefinitely with no guarantees for printing or distribution.

What experience would that be?

In my experience most established publishers have a certain time to get the books in the stores -- if they don't, I get the rights back and I keep the advance.

James D. Macdonald
06-07-2007, 03:09 AM
This is Somatic Digital (http://www.somaticdigital.com/), a place that has such stirring endorsements as "J.R., Ed.D., Director of Curriculum, a Midwestern school district." (No one who delivers a testimonial is identified by name.)

Oh, my friends, I have a very bad feeling about this.

BrookieCookie777
06-07-2007, 03:18 AM
Thanks for the wesite info, James. I've got that sickly feeling in the pit of my stomach too. The dropping thing is no big deal - They've just been so unprofessional about giving warning. I just signed the contract two months ago - but I know some who've been signed for two years. One would think they would know before signing lots of folk to contracts that they were "taking a different approach." This feels like a blessing in disguise to be released. =) I called this afternoon and they promised me the official letter releasing me from the contract and returning my rights by Friday. I wish them all the best of luck with this . . . I just hope they start to practice better business towards authors - someday they may cross the wrong writer and end up with a lawsuit.

victoriastrauss
06-07-2007, 03:52 AM
FYI:

Journey Stone and a company named Somatic Digital just announced a strategic partnership to produce 17 new titles for a digital platform over the next 12 months.Next 12 months? Only if you could travel back in time. Check out the date of the press release (http://somaticdigital.com/news/2005/07/13/) announcing the Journey Stone/Somatic Digital collaboration.

Honestly. What has happened to the caliber of sockpuppetry around here? They're making it much too easy for us.

- Victoria

BrookieCookie777
06-07-2007, 04:37 AM
Wow, Victoria. Yikes. I can't believe they signed any of us if they already knew that then. That is just craziness! :Shrug: Thanks for the information. =) My goodness - they told us they were just deciding to explore this collaboration with them. . . wow. Unbelievable.

cynfulxx
06-07-2007, 07:27 AM
What I'd like to know is this:

If it is so easy for JSC to pull out of a signed contract, will it be as easy for an author who still remains, to pull out of his/ her contract with JSC and "get" his/ her rights back?

And, another question (not rhetorical this time):

Can anyone tell me how the process works around authors' rights? For instance, in a contract, an author grants, assigns and transfers rights to the publisher . . .
--can the publisher then turn around at some later point and sell these rights to a second publisher? how about with the author's assent?
--or does the publisher have to revert the rights back to the author and then the author does what s/he chooses to do?

James D. Macdonald
06-07-2007, 10:40 AM
--can the publisher then turn around at some later point and sell these rights to a second publisher? how about with the author's assent?
--or does the publisher have to revert the rights back to the author and then the author does what s/he chooses to do?

That should be spelled out in detail in the contract. What does your contract say?

cynfulxx
06-07-2007, 05:09 PM
The contract appears to be a template available all over the internet: writer grants, transfers, and assigns to pub full and exclusive rights to the novel and any revisions for the full term of the copyright, etc.; sell copies in print, av, electronic versions, right to prepare translations, derivative works, right to license/ authorize others to do the above throughout the world.

-is this what you were referring to?

cynfulxx
06-07-2007, 05:15 PM
. . . in fact there is no provision whatsoever about rights reverting back to the author, whether after a certain time period or situation -- and nothing about "should publisher fail to publish book within xx months" hmmm.

BrookieCookie777
06-07-2007, 06:27 PM
I had a lawyer look over my contract before I signed with them. They say it was binding, will publish such and such time, seven years . . .blah blah blah - but they are telling me all JSC authors are having their rights returned. I should get the letter tomorrow . . .but I"ll believe that when I see it. The more I think about this - the more I'm glad we are all being dropped. I want no part of this backwards pub! The craziest part of this whole thing? Almost all of us are Christian writers and JSC is a Christian Pub! I've seldom heard of Christian pubs going so horribly wrong character wise . . .I mean we all tend to "Try" to apply the golden rule. Not the case here. Sorry to say.

BrookieCookie777
06-07-2007, 06:29 PM
Cynfluxx . . . Were you a JSC author with the same troubles?

cynfulxx
06-07-2007, 07:57 PM
B.C.

In order to post here I must keep things hypothetical; I apologize that I cannot say one way or the other!

BrookieCookie777
06-07-2007, 08:50 PM
Fair enough, Cynfulxx. If you are ( one the hypothetical that is =) You will find another home for your book. If not - thanks for posting about my question. I feel sort of crumby calling JSC out . . . Perhaps I should have practiced that "golden rule" more myself with this situation. I just felt the need to warn others. I hope JSC prospers with the new direction they are taking and all authors who are still with them as well. I just wanted everyone to check up on things if they are and make sure things are still running smoothly for them. I'm not sure if their business is in actual trouble - but they are dumping alot of contracts. That's a concern more for authors than JSC itself. I'm not trying to slander their name in anyway. I just want authors to be aware that things may not be working like it should right now with them.

victoriastrauss
06-07-2007, 09:47 PM
Almost all of us are Christian writers and JSC is a Christian Pub! I've seldom heard of Christian pubs going so horribly wrong character wise . . .I mean we all tend to "Try" to apply the golden rule.Unfortunately, this is one reason why there are so many scams and deceptive operations in the Christian world--Christian writers tend to be trusting, especially where the operation defines itself as Christian.

- VIctoria

BrookieCookie777
06-07-2007, 10:28 PM
It's so sad isn't it, Vic? You can just never be ceratin who to trust these days. I debated a long while over getting an agent - and now I see I did the right thing. Respected agents know who to trust and who not to trust. I on the other hand - I see, I am far too trusting.

cynfulxx
06-08-2007, 01:05 AM
Can anyone tell me how the process works around authors' rights? For instance, in a contract, an author grants, assigns and transfers rights to the publisher . . .
--can the publisher then turn around at some later point and sell these rights to a second publisher? how about with the author's assent?
--or does the publisher have to revert the rights back to the author and then the author does what s/he chooses to do?

OK, I think I found an answer to this question, well, an answer based upon one experience and research. For anyone interested here is the link (http://www.talewins.com/bly2,htm) but in a nutshell, it seems that under certain circumstances a desperate publisher can try to sell the rights to your book.

BrookieCookie777
06-08-2007, 10:43 PM
Would have posted this in the another forum but it's so long I don't know if anyone will see it there. Released from a contract like many authors with this certain publisher - due to "new direction of the company" Promised letter to revert all rights back to me in the mail. Promised to get it today - nothing. I have over ten emails saying they are "most certainly returning all rights." If they never send these letters - will this help a lawyer get my rights back? The book never went to press.

James D. Macdonald
06-08-2007, 11:23 PM
That will help.

Also: the fact that the book was never published will help in selling it elsewhere (reprints are tough).

BrookieCookie777
06-08-2007, 11:49 PM
Yes. I feel fortunate it never went to press! =)
Thanks James.

sdent1
05-21-2009, 05:00 PM
Do we raise the red flag on Journey Stone yet? This is from someone who submitted to what she thought was 35 traditional publishers. Here's a scanned copy of the response she received from Journey Stone Creaations who actually did send this persons MS to Publish America without the author knowing.

http://www.thewriterscafe.com/foreverrichard/JourneyStonesCreationsLetter.jpg

Publish America is a sister company of Journey Stone Creations?

BTW, I'm no longer with Journey Stone who qualifed as a traditional press at the time of taking me on. Shortly after they slid out of traditional press standing and I barely got out with my shirt. Actually, I'm still trying to get out completely but at least I'm alive to talk about it. :)

M.R.J. Le Blanc
05-21-2009, 06:54 PM
Ewwww, that's just scuzzy!

Whether it's true or not, I don't think PA is going to care about the reference. It's one more potential sucker in their eyes.

ChristineR
05-21-2009, 07:14 PM
They forwarded it to PA!? Without the author's permission? Isn't that illegal? (Insert numerous amusing emoticons of horror here.)

PA doesn't pay referral fees, do they?

Unless this is a hoax, Journey Stone is too scuzzy to exist.

CaoPaux
05-21-2009, 07:43 PM
:Jaw: Just when I think I've seen everything.... Holy heffalumps, that's ALL kinds of wrong!

triceretops
05-21-2009, 08:54 PM
OMG. I have no idea of how to take this. It seems too impossible to be true.

If PA is a sister company, then they're both sluts. Sorry, couldn't help it.

Tri

HapiSofi
05-21-2009, 09:39 PM
Do we raise the red flag on Journey Stone yet?
We do. An honest operation would not be forwarding their slush to Publish America.

This is from someone who submitted to what she thought was 35 traditional publishers.You're going to have to explain that to me. Do you mean your friend put out thirty-five queries or submissions, or do you mean that she made one submission that supposedly went to thirty-five publishers?

Thirty-five simultaneous queries is legit, if a tad indiscriminate. Thirty-five separate submissions are simultaneous submissions, which you're required to mention in the cover letters. But if I haven't misread you, and there's some mechanism whereby your friend made one submission that supposedly went to thirty-five publishers, there was already something flaky going on. Can you tell us more about how this worked?

Here's a scanned copy of the response she received from Journey Stone Creations who actually did send this persons MS to Publish America without the author knowing.That's an impropriety. Even if Journey Stone Creations and Publish America were both honest publishing houses, JSC would still be in the wrong.

When an author submits a manuscript to a publishing house, they are inviting that house to consider to consider it for publication. The publisher has two legitimate responses: yes, or no. Editorial comments are lagniappe. It is not legitimate for the publisher to convey the manuscript, or information about the manuscript and/or its author, to a third party. They don't have the right to act as the author's agent.

I've transcribed the text of your scan in order to make it fully searchable:

Dear Author,

At Journey Stone Creations, our focus has shifted from publishing for the mass markets to publishing for the private sector and working on projects with a specific theme, topic or educational interest.
That could mean they're a packager. On the other hand, it could also mean they've been operating as a vanity publisher.

As a result, we are no longer accepting manuscripts from the general public.

However, we have forwarded your manuscript to a sister company, "Publish America".
"Sister" in what sense? We know JSC wasn't founded by PA's owners. If some larger corporate entity had acquired PA, I have to believe we'd have heard about it, so I don't think they can be "sister companies" in the sense of both being subsidiaries of the same firm.

So what can the word mean? It's not normally used to signify a couple of companies that do work for each other, but that's an imaginable if mistaken use. Does anyone here know whether PA does special handling on some of its books?

The other possibility is the one that came to mind as soon as I saw your post: "sister company" is a euphemism intended to make a dishonest transaction sound more respectable. Granted, we can't know for sure what JSC is up to with Publish America; but usually, when you see dodgy publishing-related operations funneling aspiring authors into the hands of fake agents or vanity presses, they're getting paid for it. (For those interested in the history and technical aspects of scams and confidence games, the term for this is bunco (http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/?date=19990309) steerer (http://books.google.com/books?id=CbATAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA382&lpg=PA382&dq=bunco+steering+OR+steerer&source=bl&ots=D0FJDZxbGo&sig=OGb-nfZaEg1T71BX3RGG4D0rmSQ&hl=en&ei=iIUVSoKANJio8gTKxKjHAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9#PPA382,M1) or steering (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.47.120).)

They will be in contact with you if they are interested. Again, thank you for your interest in our Company.

Janet Kelly
Submissions Editor
Journey Stone Creations

Publish America is a sister company of Journey Stone Creations?Publish America is nobody's friend. If they're doing business with JSC, it's because JSC can furnish them with profitable goods or services.

BTW, I'm no longer with Journey Stone who qualifed as a traditional press at the time of taking me on. Shortly after they slid out of traditional press standing and I barely got out with my shirt. Actually, I'm still trying to get out completely but at least I'm alive to talk about it. :)I remember. It's still there at the beginning of the thread.

And while we're on the subject, what do you mean by "I'm still trying to get out completely"? They ditched you. They should have immediately given you reversion letters for all your titles, declared you free of any other obligations, and privately congratulated themselves on having gotten off lightly. What's going on?

sdent1
05-21-2009, 09:56 PM
They ditched you. They should have immediately given you reversion letters for all your titles, declared you free of any other obligations, and privately congratulated themselves on having gotten off lightly. What's going on?

There was also email corrospondence between JSC and the person who got the letter. Victoria has asked if she could see them and I happily complied, having the original authors permission. I don't really have any furhter comment as to what it all means. I'm still trying to pick myself up off the floor from that letter which I didn't believe existed until I saw it.

As for JSC ditching me. I don't know what they did. All I know is I waited patiently for them to get distribution again after they dropped STL/Faithworks but they didn't have enough titles to qualify for distribution through Ingram, the distributor they hoped to get with. They hung on with some sort of relationship with Baker & Taylor until round about the end of last year where they dumped over 4000 of my books and over 5000 of Angels with Attitudes Books to a liquidator. JSC kept at least 200 of Never Ceese, I learned after calling the liquidator but she owes those to me for website work. She refuses to give me my rights back until these books sell which she deduced would take two years. I went ahead and republished my self-published paperback through Lightening Source and sent her another letter stating that I want my rights returned as I don't want to be associatied with such a scuzzy company. I then asked her why she thinks any of the books she has will sell when, because of her, the book is selling for $2.oo everywhere. She's selling the stolen 200 for retail. Other than that, I'm telling everyone to buy the paperback edition. I told her to give me a date when I could come pick my books up and to tell me where they were. I've heard nothing back from JSC. Neither as she sent me promised and federally mandatory tax information for the past year so I had to file for an extension. I'm presently seeking legal representation. and am pleased to learn (but still unbelievably shocked) to see that JSC may have just made my job that much easier.

HapiSofi
05-22-2009, 01:41 AM
You need a lawyer. Make sure you get one who knows publishing law. It's got all kinds of weird idiosyncrasies.

She refuses to give me my rights back until these books sell...She's acting in bad faith. JSC has liquidated its inventory, and publicly stated that it's no longer in the business of selling books. If a former publisher is making no effort to sell copies of their old titles, they're not going to be in anyone's bookstore. The only retail outlet for them is going to be Amazon. However, JSC has also flooded the market with copies that will be selling on Amazon for a fraction of their original cover price. Under the circumstances, those copies of yours aren't going to sell in two years or two hundred years. She can't make reversion contingent on their sale.

But that's secondary to the main argument: JSC has liquidated its general publishing operation, and cancelled the publishing contracts of all their other authors. They are no longer in the business of publishing and selling books for the general bookbuying audience. Whatever the deficiencies of that contract, you granted them a temporary and contingent right to publish your books on the understanding that they would publish them. Printing isn't publishing. Holding onto the rights and doing nothing with them isn't publishing, either. If JSC has no intention of exercising those rights, they have no excuse for withholding them from you so you can exercise them yourself..

Next in the list of non-legitimate reasons to refuse to honor a reversion request is hoping that the author will despair and offer to buy out their existing stock. This may be the actual point of the exercise. Don't fall for it. If you want to buy copies of your own books, the liquidator will sell them to you for a lot less. You never guaranteed JSC those sales. Furthermore, they can't have been counting on making them, because if they had, they wouldn't have dumped all those thousands of copies on a liquidator, thus making those titles unsaleable at cover price.

(Digression: the Publish America version of that trick is to claim to have some large unsold inventory of the book, and refuse to revert the rights unless the author buys all the copies at full retail price. After the author sends PA a check for the full amount, they have a short-run printing operation manufacture the copies they'd claimed were in inventory.)

Anyway, a lawyer would be a very good idea. JSC can just keep blowing you off. Lawsuits are much harder to ignore.

----------

Some general remarks about bad publishers:

A lot of people start up publishing operations because they've always wanted to publish books. They have no idea what they're doing. In my years at AW, I've had to listen to endless rounds of explanations and excuses about how this-or-that clueless publisher Means Well.

I keep replying that if that publisher hasn't bothered to find out how conventional publishing actually works, you shouldn't let them do their learning on your books, because they'll screw up. They may get another chance after that, but your books won't.

The other thing about clueless publishers is that some of them stick around. They can't make money they way they first imagined, so they find other ways to do it. If they haven't built sales, marketing, and distribution into their operation (which is why they couldn't make money off the book-buying public in the first place), they're going to wind up making money off their authors. Readers are tough. Authors are vulnerable. It's an easy slide on a downhill slope.

The same thing happens with clueless souls who set out to be literary agents: if they stay in the business, odds are they'll turn scammer, because it's the only way they can make any money. Being a real agent is hard. Being a fake agent is like taking candy from babies.

JSC's original mission statement was hopeful and idealistic. They meant well. Now they're in bed with Publish America. What's the lesson? Good intentions are simply not enough. Never count on a startup publisher to do for your book what they aren't already doing for other people's books, and don't make excuses for them when they fail.

sdent1
05-22-2009, 01:57 AM
I offered to buy all of my books from JSC at a respectable price waaaaaaay before they liquidated them. I even had them send me the exact invoice for the cost of the books. I offered them more than they sold them for. My guess was, since they had no real marketing plan ever, they got in a pinch warehousing all those books. JSC didn't even come to me and aske if the offer was still good before they sold them off for less than I offered. And I found out about the transaction on google.

The books they kept are owed me for website work. Of course they won't sell the books they have left and that's what I told them. I now undrstand many of those books have missing pages and are falling apart so I don't even want them. I'm already selling my re-published paperback version of Never Ceese (which I self-published first) and it is available through Ingram and Spring Arbor. And my sequel is doing quite well with my new publisher.

I honestly thought the person who contacted me had most certainly misread the letter from JSC. Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it. Still not believing it.

sdent1
05-22-2009, 02:02 AM
JSC's original mission statement was hopeful and idealistic. They meant well. Now they're in bed with Publish America. What's the lesson? Good intentions are simply not enough. Never count on a startup publisher to do for your book what they aren't already doing for other people's books, and don't make excuses for them when they fail.

And for the record, JSC had smooth talk from the beginning. They didn't come across as a start-up company. They inferred they'd been publishing their own work for some time and now wanted to move "outside their house." I sought advice of others educated in the business and none of them saw anything other than a small traditional press looking to grow. As you said, it didn't happen that way and now their in bed with Publish America or at the very least, don't know what they're talking about.

Sometimes you can't pay enough attention, it seems. Ho hum. Do keep up on what's happening though. It does help. :)

HapiSofi
05-26-2009, 06:42 PM
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.


I offered to buy all of my books from JSC at a respectable price waaaaaaay before they liquidated them. ...

The books they kept are owed me for website work. Of course they won't sell the books they have left and that's what I told them. I now understand many of those books have missing pages and are falling apart so I don't even want them.
1. WTF? Respectable publishers don't sell defective copies. If they told you those copies are defective, but they're waiting for them to sell, their pretense of holding on to your rights until those copies sell is even more transparently ridiculous than I'd thought.

2. Please bear with me: it's question time again.

Does JSC take returns?

Do you remember who told you that those are defective copies? What exactly did they say? How did they describe them?

Did they say the missing pages were absent entirely, or displaced to another part of the book? How many pages did they say were missing?

Have the defects they mentioned shown up in other copies of that edition which you've either seen, or heard about from independent third parties?

Do you know or can you find out the name or address of the plant where the books were produced? There's a chance it's mentioned in the book. If not, see whether you still have the cartons in which your author copies were shipped to you -- the usual practice is to have them shipped directly from the plant.

Finally, can you please tell me how many physical pages there are in a copy of your book? I don't mean the numbers printed on the pages; I mean the total number of sheets of paper bound between the covers, including frontmatter, back matter, and blank pages, but not including the covers themselves.

Why I'm asking:

We're talking about two issues: missing pages, and copies falling apart. It's difficult to imagine those problems turning up in a professionally printed and bound edition, but only affecting a couple of hundred copies, all of which are held by the publisher.

Most of the problems that can affect mass-produced editions tend to affect all the copies in those editions, or a significant quantity of copies from one portion of the run. For instance, if the spines are badly glued so that they fall apart, all the spines will be badly glued, or all the spines from (say) the beginning or the end of the run will be badly glued. That's a problem at the plant.

If a page of bad repro is included in the final pages delivered to the printer, every last copy of the book will include that bad page. If a page of repro gets left out, it will be missing from every copy. That's a pre-press error -- i.e., it's the publisher's fault.

One way pages can go missing without it being the publisher's fault is if you have miscollated signatures. Conventional book production techniques handle pages in groups of eight or sixteen pages, called signatures. If your book has the correct total number of pages, but a group of eight or sixteen or thirty-two of them are upside-down, or have migrated to the wrong place in the book, or hail from a different book altogether, you're looking at miscollated signatures, and it happened at the plant. This problem can affect single copies, or a percentage of the copies going down the line during some portion of the total run. What it can't do is only affect a few pages at a time.

If the publisher is lucky, only a portion of the run will be defective, it'll be the plant's fault, and the defective copies will be included in the cartons sent directly to the publisher. However, what usually happens in conventional publishing is that the defective copies get shipped out to bookstores, and the author and publisher get to hear about the problems from dissatisfied customers. Retail booksellers that have non-defective copies on hand swap them for defective ones and return them to the publisher for credit.

So: Did JSC take returns? That's the only way I can think of for a publisher to wind up with a mixed lot of a couple of hundred defective copies. If they did, and if the defects weren't their fault, they'll have charged the cost of those copies to the plant that produced them. In any event, they shouldn't be offering defective copies for sale.

The other question that interests me is how they described the defects to you, and whether those same defects were reported by recipients that aren't JSC. I guess the shortest way to explain it is that I want to know whether the books actually exist, and if they do exist, whether they're actually defective. I'm a suspicious old bat.


And for the record, JSC had smooth talk from the beginning. They didn't come across as a start-up company. They inferred they'd been publishing their own work for some time and now wanted to move "outside their house." I sought advice of others educated in the business and none of them saw anything other than a small traditional press looking to grow.
If they told you it's normal or traditional for a publishing house to start off publishing the publisher's own manuscripts, then expand into publishing other writers' manuscripts, your advisers weren't educated in the same publishing industry I've worked for over the past several decades.

(Yes, Mark Twain did something very like that. He was unsuccessful too.)

The pattern you're describing starts out with an author who can't get published via conventional means. Instead of putting their effort into improving their writing, they constitute themselves a publisher, unsuccessfully publish their own works, and then expand into publishing other would-be authors, in the apparent belief that if you amass a sufficient number of unsuccessful titles, they'll miraculously stop being unsuccessful.

There are a lot of "publishing experts" out there who don't know what they're talking about. They get paid for their advice by aspiring writers. As I said earlier in this thread, readers are tough. Authors are vulnerable. It's a lot easier to sell a book of bad advice to wanna-be writers, or set up as a writing instructor at universities or workshops, than it is to sell a general-interest work to the general public.

sdent1
05-30-2009, 01:47 AM
I've had one fan ask me if I could send them another book upon buying the hardback because a page was missing. I've had another fan ask if I could send them a book because their hardback fell apart and I've seen a couple of sellers saying that their copies have ALL the pages which may just be soething they say. So maybe it's just isolated cases. I don't care. I don't want them back.

JSC was a traditional press when I signed on then slid out of that status. I'm sure it happens all the time. I just think that others should know they're not operating as a traditional press now and it seems their sending MS's to PA. :)

HapiSofi
06-06-2009, 09:45 AM
Okay. Good enough.

James D. Macdonald
06-06-2009, 04:06 PM
For a publisher to whom you had sent a submission to tell you that they'd forwarded your submission to their sister publication, PublishAmerica, is like a young lady whom you had asked for a date telling you that she'd made a date for you with her sister, who gives two-dollar blowjobs in the alley behind the bus station.

EgyptianGoddess
06-06-2009, 10:34 PM
For a publisher to whom you had sent a submission to tell you that they'd forwarded your submission to their sister publication, PublishAmerica, is like a young lady whom you had asked for a date telling you that she'd made a date for you with her sister, who gives two-dollar blowjobs in the alley behind the bus station.


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! <wiping eyes>:D

HapiSofi
06-08-2009, 05:22 PM
Vivid, memorable, and accurate.

sdent1
09-01-2009, 09:35 PM
It justs keeps gettin' better. Apparently Journey Stone *cough* *cough* is now *drum roll please* into self-publishing. Say it ain't so!

http://www.google.com/url?sa=X&q=http://rodeo.cincinnati.com/getlocal/gpstory.aspx%3Fid%3D100224%26sid%3D153795&ct=ga&cd=Rbep-ChfRR8&usg=AFQjCNFePe44KnWBFTHWTYTFtf7Pe0dDrg

CaoPaux
01-19-2010, 12:21 AM
Updating link: http://www.jscbooks.com/

sdent1
05-08-2010, 07:33 PM
Why post a link to the site of a publisher who is claiming to operate as a traditional press when they don't and have all sorts of comments posted here that points to a disturbing trend of "screwing" authors?

CaoPaux
05-08-2010, 08:17 PM
Because accurate information is vital for education.

CaoPaux
01-08-2012, 10:48 PM
E.g., site hasn't been updated since '09, nor am I finding anything published since then; even on their "commercial" side through My eZ Book Club (http://www.myezbookclub.com/default.aspx).