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Assessing a publisher

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Jo Zebedee

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Well as long as the contract snippet you've shared is factual--and I'm assuming it is--and you're being told by many wise writers that it's shady and to be avoided at all costs, why wouldn't you want to attach it to the publisher's name and help to warn other writers? You don't have to be snarky and accusatory about it, just "this is a piece of the contract they sent me, and this is why I declined to work with them. The end."

:Shrug:

The snippet was copied directly from the boilerplate contract on their website which they have linked to openly, so there's no problem there.

I will feed into the thread, but won't do it in advance of informing the publisher of my decision, and/or see what sort of negotiation is offered -- they have made it clear they are willing to negotiate their boilerplate contract, but I have to understand the language to do that. It doesn't feel professional to have it on an open forum with names and what not before I've done all that.
 
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Terie

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I will feed into the thread, but won't do it in advance of informing the publisher of my decision, and/or see what sort of negotiation is offered -- they have made it clear they are willing to negotiate their boilerplate contract, but I have to understand the language to do that.

I don't understand. Why would you even think about negotiating with a publisher with no track record of successfully publishing books? And yes, I've figured out which publisher it is. There's only one publisher thread here at AW that talks about Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as if it's a norm of the publishing industry -- which it isn't.
 

veinglory

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IMHO if that is what they boilerplate, I think that it speaks to their approach to publishing in general.

An acceptance is nice but there is a difference between being accepted by a VIP lounge and being accepted by a spring-jawed bear trap.
 

AphraB

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I don't understand. Why would you even think about negotiating with a publisher with no track record of successfully publishing books? And yes, I've figured out which publisher it is. There's only one publisher thread here at AW that talks about Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as if it's a norm of the publishing industry -- which it isn't.

Bolding added.

I love clues! When I figure them out, I feel so smart! Thank you!:Thumbs:
 

Old Hack

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My hands are tied for a week or two, I've had some new events this morning that complicate things a little more.

If the publisher is the one I think it is, then I don't see what's so complicated about refusing its offer.

If the publisher isn't the one I think it is, I don't see what's so complicated about refusing to work with a publisher which thinks that boilerplate contract is in any way acceptable.

Either way, it's not complicated to say no.
 

Old Hack

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Thanks, Terie: this is what the contract says about net:


. Royalties on Publisher’s Editions. For each Edition of the Work published by Publisher under this Agreement, Publisher shall credit Author’s account with the following royalties on Net Revenues (all revenues are paid in USD):
6.1 50% (fifty percent) of the Net Revenues on Net Copies Sold of any Edition, not electronic.
6.2 50% (fifty percent) of the Net Revenues on sales of electronic Editions sold.
6.3 United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP) defines Net Revenue as the Gross Revenue minus
the Costs of Goods, Services, and Production.
6.3.1 Costs of Goods are defined as: Retailer Freight (Distribution Charges), Copyright Registration, International
Standard Book Number (ISBN), and Barcode.
6.3.2 Costs of Services and Production are defined as: Managing Editorial, Copy Edit, Proofing, Review, Cover and
Interior Design and Typography, Editorial, Marketing, Research, and Sales.
6.3.3 The Costs of Services and Production will not exceed 50% of Gross Revenue after the Costs of Goods have
been satisfied.

When one Googles the quoted contract terms this thread appears in the top three results, while PDFs of the publishing contracts of two small publishers take the other two places.

Both of those two publishers have been discussed here in AW's BR&BC room and found severely lacking for reasons other than that dreadful contract.

Interesting, eh?
 

kaitie

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A quick copy-paste search brings up the publisher in question pretty easily. Personally, I'd like to see this information brought up in that thread.

Particularly considering this information directly contradicts some of what is said in that thread by the publisher. The publisher's information concerning the contract conveniently left out how the "net" is calculated.

In my mind, this says the author is paying to have the book published. The costs of actually creating the book are coming out of the author's royalties, which, as someone mentioned above, strikes me as just back-end vanity. Rather than paying up front, you're paying with royalties.

The publisher in question actually claims that this is not being done. This contract looks to directly contradict what the publisher is claiming. Considering some of our people have been submitting to this publisher, I think it's worth bringing up.

Maybe if the OP doesn't want to mention it, someone else could? It's public info on the website, after all.
 

Polenth

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If it's the one I'm thinking of, they have so many red flags they could open a red flag shop. When a publisher has early issues, they don't get better with the power of positive thinking. They really don't.
 

Jo Zebedee

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If the publisher is the one I think it is, then I don't see what's so complicated about refusing its offer.

If the publisher isn't the one I think it is, I don't see what's so complicated about refusing to work with a publisher which thinks that boilerplate contract is in any way acceptable.

Either way, it's not complicated to say no.

To clarify: the novel is with agents, as is my next novel, at various stages of fulls and R and R(not this one.)

When I subbed this was a rewrite of an older version that had gained little interest and I thought had run its course, and might be self-pubbed, mostly because I love the book and want it out there. Having said that, I was pleased with the rewrite, and that has been borne out by a significant level of interest.

When I got the offer I was starting to pick up that interest and now I am liasing with a couple of agents, who know I have offers on the table and have asked to me to wait for the readthrough, which they have prioritised for me. These agents were not active until after I received the offer. Until I know whether the decision lies with me or an agent on my behalf, I don't think it's right for me to name the publisher, or professional of me, and it was not why I started the thread. However, I am aware that the decision may be taken by me if an agent chooses not to take me on, and I want to be as well prepared as possible to take that decision.

As soon as I am in the position of moving forwards - one way or another - I am very happy to post my experiences and my decision on the publisher's thread (and I must stress that whether or not the contract is a poor one my experience with them has not been).

Ref the contract - it came directly from a link on the AW thread, as I wanted to use the current, updated language in their new contract, and is easily found.
 
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veinglory

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I am a bit confused, you are submitting the same manuscript to multiple agents and multiple publishers?
 

Jo Zebedee

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I had stopped subbing to agents as I thought it had run its course and was starting to sub to small presses when the two dovetailed. Part of this is to do with a second novel, though, which is subbing seperately and only to agents.

In fact, this novel hadn't been subbed on a wide basis as adult space opera doesn't have a huge number of agents to sub to.

Have I done something awful? I pretty well followed the course indicated: agents, then publishers, in small batches and have been above board at all times. The first publisher, in this thread, knows the delay is around an agent and my second book (things changed again this morning) - the other publisher is up to date with everything.
 
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victoriastrauss

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. Royalties on Publisher’s Editions. For each Edition of the Work published by Publisher under this Agreement, Publisher shall credit Author’s account with the following royalties on Net Revenues (all revenues are paid in USD):
6.1 50% (fifty percent) of the Net Revenues on Net Copies Sold of any Edition, not electronic.
6.2 50% (fifty percent) of the Net Revenues on sales of electronic Editions sold.
6.3 United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP) defines Net Revenue as the Gross Revenue minus
the Costs of Goods, Services, and Production.
6.3.1 Costs of Goods are defined as: Retailer Freight (Distribution Charges), Copyright Registration, International
Standard Book Number (ISBN), and Barcode.
6.3.2 Costs of Services and Production are defined as: Managing Editorial, Copy Edit, Proofing, Review, Cover and
Interior Design and Typography, Editorial, Marketing, Research, and Sales.
6.3.3 The Costs of Services and Production will not exceed 50% of Gross Revenue after the Costs of Goods have
been satisfied.
I know who this publisher is, and this terrible royalties clause--which has the potential to reduce your royalties to a pittance or even zero, since you have absolutely no idea what all these costs will add up to--is just one of the problems with its contract. Have a look at the last couple of pages of posts in the thread here about this publisher to see what I mean.

- Victoria
 
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Debeucci

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It took me a whole 5 seconds to find the publisher. Was about to just state it in this thread. Is there a reason why we shouldn't?

Also, the whole situation sounds a little off and definitely more complicated than it should be.
 

Jo Zebedee

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It took me a whole 5 seconds to find the publisher. Was about to just state it in this thread. Is there a reason why we shouldn't?

Also, the whole situation sounds a little off and definitely more complicated than it should be.

No reason, except I didn't start the thread about one publisher, but about a quandry with several strands (which sound more complicated than they are as I want to be careful what I say until I am able to move the situation on.) Had I wanted it to be about a single publisher as opposed to advice around a general decision I would have posted in their bewares thread. Part of my question was if some of the other strands are preferable or no better eg a small start up publisher, offering an advance, and wanting to work with me, or Self-pubbing. The complication of an interested agent for this book (which is only a possibility) has only come up since I started this thread.



I know who this publisher is, and this terrible royalties clause--which has the potential to reduce your royalties to a pittance or even zero, since you have absolutely no idea what all these costs will add up to--are just one of the problems with its contract. Have a look at the last couple of pages of posts in the thread here about this publisher to see what I mean.

- Victoria

I am watching it, thanks, Victoria, and it's helping me greatly.


I'm starting to get quite uncomfortable how this thread is going as it's becoming akin to a veiled bewares on a publisher who already has an active one. Is it possible to get this thread closed?
 
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