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[Agency] BookEnds, LLC / Beyond the Page Publishing

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HistorySleuth

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Well from The FAQ page of Beyond the Page it says this:

How is Beyond the Page connected to BookEnds Literary Agency?
Beyond the Page was started as a service to BookEnds clients who were asking for help, guidance, and their agent's participation in self-publishing ventures. Given the services we wanted to be able to provide our clients (including editing, copyediting, and marketing), we did not feel a traditional commission-based agency model was right for self-publishing. That's when Beyond the Page was created.

Beyond the Page is a completely separate company from BookEnds. All business plans, staff, and financials are separate, as are submissions.

and

What are the payment arrangements?
Beyond the Page enters into a profit-sharing agreement with authors based entirely on sales for a set term of license. As in traditional publishing, where an author's advance and royalties are kept confidential, the specific terms of the profit-sharing agreement will be discussed only with individual authors who are interested in working with Beyond the Page.

I'm still not comfortable with the idea. So if a person sends their MS to BookEnds, and it's not something they want to represent, they flip the person to their "self-publishing" arm?

The whole -- service they provide to their clients -- idea is still a conflict in my view. A way to keep potential income rather than turning someone totally away with a "sorry it's not for us" rejection letter if they don't want to take it on in the normal agent/author relationship. That's still how I interpret it.
 

kaitie

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I'm still not comfortable with the idea. So if a person sends their MS to BookEnds, and it's not something they want to represent, they flip the person to their "self-publishing" arm?

The whole -- service they provide to their clients -- idea is still a conflict in my view. A way to keep potential income rather than turning someone totally away with a "sorry it's not for us" rejection letter if they don't want to take it on in the normal agent/author relationship. That's still how I interpret it.

It makes me uncomfortable, too, which is why I ask again. Have they published any books that we know of? If so, do we know how they did with covers, editing, etc. or how well said books might have sold?

I wish Jessica would give some information about it. While I'm sure they just forgot, I do find it kind of frustrating that they had promised to answer questions to allay fears and then never followed through. I appreciate the blog and think they do a great job, and clearly they've always shown themselves to be a good agency, but this sort of thing does make me wonder if maybe they didn't just notice that things quieted down, so to speak, and decided the questions didn't need answers after all, you know?

Is anyone a client who knows anything about this or has used the service?
 

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It makes me uncomfortable, too, which is why I ask again. Have they published any books that we know of? If so, do we know how they did with covers, editing, etc. or how well said books might have sold?

I wish Jessica would give some information about it. While I'm sure they just forgot, I do find it kind of frustrating that they had promised to answer questions to allay fears and then never followed through. I appreciate the blog and think they do a great job, and clearly they've always shown themselves to be a good agency, but this sort of thing does make me wonder if maybe they didn't just notice that things quieted down, so to speak, and decided the questions didn't need answers after all, you know?

Is anyone a client who knows anything about this or has used the service?

You can see some of the covers on the index page of BTPP, and they do list their authors...
 

HistorySleuth

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It makes me uncomfortable, too, which is why I ask again. Have they published any books that we know of? If so, do we know how they did with covers, editing, etc. or how well said books might have sold?

Hummm ... you click on the picture and it takes you to the author page. But no link that takes you to ordering the book. So you would have to go to one of the retailers listed on the bottom of the index page and do a search for author/title. Which I did at Amazon.

Seems to be a mix of stuff. One is 23 pages, 47 pages and some novella length or regular novel length. Another romance is ranked #29 for Amazon kindle romance. Looks like some reprints ... so maybe there aren't any new authors just the ones they already have signed dabbling around with the e-book thing?? The covers are nice (the non-fic ones could be a bit more interesting.)

Who knows, I hope the authors make out well with it though.
 

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I wouldn't go near BookEnds these days. They aren't bad people, but they aren't adapting well to industry changes, except for trying to make sure that they keep a seat at the table. I wouldn't want to do business with them without having someone watching over them that is looking out for me and that is a problem.

I used to like the blog, but feel that it's become promotional padding, i.e., not a lot of meat, mostly filler.
 

happywritermom

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I wouldn't go near BookEnds these days. They aren't bad people, but they aren't adapting well to industry changes, except for trying to make sure that they keep a seat at the table. I wouldn't want to do business with them without having someone watching over them that is looking out for me and that is a problem.

I used to like the blog, but feel that it's become promotional padding, i.e., not a lot of meat, mostly filler.

No agent can make you go with a publisher you don't want. The agents at Bookends are very good at selling books. If you are absolutely certain that the other venture of Bookends is not for you (as I am), then how is this reason to stay away?

I understand the concern, particularly for those who are new to the business and might not know what is best for their careers, but I think it's unfair to warn people to stay away from an established agency simply because it's experimenting in this changing publishing environment.

It's possible it's a terrible idea.
It's possible it's a brilliant idea.
Caution is the best approach.
But no agent is going to take a writer's manuscript and publish it against his or her own will. That would be career and financial suicide.

I want an agent who can sell my novels.
This new venture does not make the agents at Bookends any less capable of doing that. I am absolutely, 100 percent certain that my manuscript will not be published under the Beyond the Page if I don't want that.

Now, if this were a new agency, one that was not already established, I would stay away. I would do so because I would worry that the agents would get lazy, pushing their publishing arm rather than cultivating contacts. I would worry that signing with them would be a waste of another year or so of my time.

The agents at Bookends are already well-connected with proven sales records. So, in this case, I am not as concerned.
 

Jeanette

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It makes me uncomfortable, too, which is why I ask again. Have they published any books that we know of? If so, do we know how they did with covers, editing, etc. or how well said books might have sold?

I wish Jessica would give some information about it. While I'm sure they just forgot, I do find it kind of frustrating that they had promised to answer questions to allay fears and then never followed through. I appreciate the blog and think they do a great job, and clearly they've always shown themselves to be a good agency, but this sort of thing does make me wonder if maybe they didn't just notice that things quieted down, so to speak, and decided the questions didn't need answers after all, you know?

Is anyone a client who knows anything about this or has used the service?

I'm a client and really: they are not scary people who are trying to "pull one" on the writer. My first novel A Quiet Storm was published by Scribner and my last novel, No One Knows You're Here, was published by Jessica and Beyond the Page Publishing back in November.

She and Bill, the editorial director, are professionals. Not once have I felt uncomfortable. Regarding book things: My husband is a designer so I didn't have to turn to BTP for covers -- but they help with that. My manuscript was pretty clean, but Bill went over it again. They formatted and put my book up -- and that was the hardest thing for me to do with my first e-novel The View from Here. I still have to do a lot of the promotion -- but when I was with Simon & Schuster, I still had to promote.

And the contract with BTP is only for three years -- all rights revert to me then.

Not once have I felt 'in danger'. And my mystery is doing well.

Publishing is changing, and sometimes, you have to take a chance. In this instance, I don't mind being the canary in the coal mine. I'd rather try something and not obsess over what could've happened if I had tried it.

Hope this helps.
 

kaitie

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That helps a lot. As I said before, I have a lot of respect for this agency and their work, but I just wanted to hear some experiences of people involved to see how it's working (partly to address concerns some had about whether they would be able to put out a good product).

I'd still like to hear from them about what they're doing to avoid conflicts of interest and that sort of thing, but I'm glad your experience has gone well. :) Thanks for sharing your story.
 

Jeanette

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No problem, kaitie. Anything to help other writers make the best decisions they can!

Rachel
 

HistorySleuth

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Thanks Jeanette, for popping into the thread to share your experience. So did you chose them because you wanted to do e-books without having to format it yourself? I'd I'd guess too because of the professional editing?

Was Jessica your agent on your first book? Just wondering how you picked Beyond the Page. If you sought Jessica as an agent through BookEnds first for the second book to publish the traditional way or went to Jessica from the get go for their self-publishing. It sounds from your post she is involved in Beyond the Page as well.

Glad to hear your mystery is doing well! :)
 

Jeanette

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Thanks Jeanette, for popping into the thread to share your experience. So did you chose them because you wanted to do e-books without having to format it yourself? I'd I'd guess too because of the professional editing?

Was Jessica your agent on your first book? Just wondering how you picked Beyond the Page. If you sought Jessica as an agent through BookEnds first for the second book to publish the traditional way or went to Jessica from the get go for their self-publishing. It sounds from your post she is involved in Beyond the Page as well.

Glad to hear your mystery is doing well! :)

Hi, HistorySleuth!
I primarily wanted to see what BTP could do that I couldn't do. And because I knew of Jessica and BookEnds, I thought that if I was going to experiment, I'd do it with someone that has a good reputation already.

Jessica has never been my agent -- and for NOKYH, I had gone the traditional approach with my then-agent Emma Sweeney. As is the story with a lot of previously published novelists, I didn't land a contract. The story was great -- written and edited to death -- and the thought of it sitting in a drawer disturbed me. I had already published The View from Here electronically and self-publishing is a lot of work. So when BTP opened their doors...

The formatting was the most appealing to me as well as the potential of tapping into expertise that I wouldn't have on my own.
 

kaitie

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Since you've had the experience of both self-publishing and going with BTP, would you mind giving us an idea of the benefits in terms of time, work, effort?

I think a lot of authors now are considering self-publishing and one of the big drawbacks is the time commitment. I'd love to know how services like this are able to handle some of the more mundane aspects so that the author has more time available for important things (like writing).

Also, have they been able to help with marketing and promotion, and if so in what ways? I'm under the impression this is one of the major time sinks and also something that's difficult for authors to do.

I'm not trying to search out negatives here, in case it comes across that way. I'm actually guessing there are lots of positives but am hoping for specific examples to help get a clearer view of the benefits.
 

HistorySleuth

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Thanks again Jeanette. I can see the formatting thing for all the different e-publishing sites being a draw. I'm working on some local non-fic for self publishing. Setting up for hard copy is time consuming. Not sure if I'd want to do the e-publishing set up myself or not.
 

jaksen

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Got a ques. about all this.

How confident would any of you feel about sending your ms. to one of the BookEnds agents? (Assuming you are presently agentless - and got a request from BookEnds for your full ms.?)

Would you pass on this one - if your ms. was being read by other agencies?

(I have no intention of doing the e-publishing route, so if this agency suggested I go that route, I'd say thanks but no thanks and move on.)

Just the same, would this side-venture they have put you off from wanting to work with the agency?
 

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I see no reason to think they are abandoning the agenting side of the business. They might be ahead of the curve, not behind it. Business is business, after all. I submitted my YA to Kim, and if they suggest the self-pub route, I'll say thanks, but I'll wait until all other avenues are closed.

If I chose a self-publishing route, it would be nice to have guidance rather than fly blind. However, I don't plan to do it anytime soon.
 

HistorySleuth

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Any one do Kim Lionetti's pitch on twitter?

Kim's tweet, "IMPROMPTU "TWITCH" CONTEST -- Tweet me pitch for your cozy/amateur sleuth mystery (1 tweet only). Winner gets partial critique."

It closed at 12:00 PM EST time today. Wait .... does that mean noon or midnight?
 

Kitty27

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I am still torn about this agency. I have heard good things and earlier I expressed my reservations about BTP.

I just don't know. They rep my genres and have a good rep. I just have reservations about an agent wearing two hats. I might query.
 

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JESSICA FAUST IS OPEN TO QUERIES THIS WEEKEND ONLY!

She wants: women's fiction, contemp & historical romance, cozy mysteries, steampunk & maybe a biz book.

Seriously, if you guys aren't stalking agents on Twitter, you're missing out.
 

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