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Blue Moon Publishers

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

VeryBigBeard

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Some people read very, very quickly :). Especially if they work in publishing.

Definitely get an agent to look at the contract. They'll likely know more about how to evaluate the pros/cons of a publisher than I do, too.

Best of luck!
 

ctripp

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General thoughts, it's a nice website (and after looking at so many horrible Vanity ones with glaring neon colours, awful music and unreadable font running over itself, and first page screams at the writers telling them they understand how hard it is to get published...while a basic, clean site shouldn't be important, it makes a certain impression with me:)
They have a number of mid grade and one YA that I see, then adult. From what I see mostly, publishers don't tend to do MG and Adult under the same imprint but I suppose there's nothing really wrong with that.
They are not affiliated with the various gov grants. In Canada all traditional publishers can apply and receive pretty hefty grant money from places such as Heritage Canada and the Arts Council of Canada etc. This can mean 20, 30 and more thousands of dollars a year. For some reason, either they have elected to not apply for this free money (hard to believe) or more likely, they don't qualify for the grants. I would then assume their boutique status rules the grant money out. Also tied with getting grants is the rule that they must publish only Canadian Authors so this may also be a reason for them not applying, perhaps they wish to search out international (American, UK etc) Authors.
A random search of 2 of the Authors turned up no results about them or their books:( This is very odd, especially in Canada, where there are very few Publishers and relatively few Published Authors (when compared to the US) I found reviews of the book I picked, Nirvana, on Goodreads, where the consensus seems to be the Publisher made a mistake sending ARC's out for review before editing was complete. Although those that did get edited books weren't as a whole, much more impressed. But, that doesn't really mean a whole lot I suppose when trying to judge a publisher, good and poor reviews happen.
I'm more concerned that when you google an Author who is published, a number of articles, Facebook pages, and a website pops up. For the two I searched, vitally nothing appeared, save the Blue Moon site. Even there, they do not offer bios of the Authors that I could find.
 

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I’m new here, and I know this thread’s been quiet for a while, but I wanted to send a comment about my own experience with Blue Moon in case anyone else is looking for info.

Blue Moon found me through this past February’s #Pit2Pub. I had the same experience as one of the other writers here: an offer made very quickly. For a while I was extremely unsure about signing with them, but this was the only offer I’d had on my beloved first novel (literary/women's fiction) after a lot of trying, and getting-close-but-no-cigar. I was tired and willing to at least think about taking a chance.

From the first, I found Blue Moon professional and respectful. They aren’t a vanity press: there’s no charge of any kind to work with them, and they provide editorial services, cover design, and publicity. They gave me a lot of extra time to consider their offer, because my novel at that time was a finalist in another publisher's competition and I wanted to wait for the final results of that. When the novel didn't win, I went back to Blue Moon and asked if I could negotiate with them on their contract, because there were a few things I didn't like. They were immediately responsive. My phone call with Heidi Sander, in which that negotiation happened, sealed the deal for me. Up to then, I had still been unsure. When I spoke with her on the phone, though, she was so respectful and accommodating, and spoke so readily about her own and Blue Moon’s interest and investment in my book - particularly the creative marketing they want to do for it, as it's kind of a "niche" book - that I came out of the conversation with a very different feeling than I had going in. In a word, I was thrilled.

I signed with them in April. Since then, my initial experience has been more of the same: communications with them are handled very promptly, their system is very organized, and everyone I’ve worked with has demonstrated the same professionalism. My book is due to be released next June. While there’s much more to be done, so far I’ve been very pleased with them and feel confident in their work. I know also that the lion’s share of a book’s success has to do with what the writer does to market, rather than what the publisher does, but I also find it encouraging that Blue Moon is well tapped into online marketing and social networking. I’ll post another update here as we get closer to release, but so far, I have no hesitation in praising this publisher. (I should note I'm in the US; not sure how many non-Canadian writers they work with, but there are at least a couple of us.)
 
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JulieB

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I know also that the lion’s share of a book’s success has to do with what the writer does to market, rather than what the publisher does, but I also find it encouraging that Blue Moon is well tapped into online marketing and social networking.

IMO, the lion's share of success is the ability of a publisher to get books into the hands of readers. More and more writers are being asked to help with marketing. That's okay. But ultimately, the publisher has to get those books into the hands of readers.
 

ctripp

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(I should note I'm in the US; not sure how many non-Canadian writers they work with, but there are at least a couple of us.)

Yes, if the Canadian Publisher doesn't apply/receive the government grants, or they don't qualify for them, they can most certainly publish Authors that are not Canadian:)

 

ctripp

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I should note that since my Feb comment, I have found that at least two of the Authors have their own websites now and come up in a google search (there could certainly be more of them but I only looked up a few)
I agree with a post much earlier on in the thread, Author testimonials praising their publisher really don't belong on a Publishers site. That is what Vanities like to put on their home page, so they should probably loose those. Instead it would be nice to see an About Us Page, where there are names of the one or more folks behind the press and their work history. In Contact, there's no mention anymore about their location (which is likely in the home of the Editor/Publisher) but still, I think it should be listed.
The covers and the site I still find professional and pleasing to the eye but the fact that the books are not stocked in our Only Canadian book store chain, Chapters/Indigo, will mean relying on on-line sales and a lot of promotion and marketing on the Authors part. I certainly hope they have distribution outside of Canada but I can't really find any IN Canada other then, as said, on-line availability!
Also hope the Canadian dollar bounces up a bit, for the sake of those US Authors:)
 

CaoPaux

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IMO, the lion's share of success is the ability of a publisher to get books into the hands of readers. More and more writers are being asked to help with marketing. That's okay. But ultimately, the publisher has to get those books into the hands of readers.

To hone a point: it's vital that an author understands the difference between marketing and promotion. Not the least so they can recognize when their publisher doesn't.
 

VeryBigBeard

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The questions I had earlier still remain: if Blue Moon is taking a large royalty, what are they doing to earn it? The books aren't in Chapters and they don't appear to do any marketing. What are the sales like? What is the rights situation?

Because as it stands, I can't see an advantage to going with Blue Moon over self-publishing.
 

ansky

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Because as it stands, I can't see an advantage to going with Blue Moon over self-publishing.

So far they have done this for me:

1. Developed an amazing cover for my book that looks exactly like what I imagined it would. Very professional looking.

2. Designed the book interior to make it look awesome, and not just font/formatting but including symbols that are specific to my story (also designed by them with only my description).

3. Professional editing of the manuscript with a very responsive and helpful editor.

4. Developed a marketing plan, including Netgalley, promotional sites, interviews, blogs, media, etc.

And this is months prior to the book's release. As far as self-publishing goes, all those costs are out of pocket prior to book's release. Just editing can cost $500+ and covers even more if you don't buy premade. NetGalley is several hundred dollars too. So if you don't have the cash to drop on the costs, that's the advantage of going with a small publisher like Blue Moon.
 

VeryBigBeard

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I'm glad things are going well, ansky, and thanks for answering my questions.

I still worry you're in the honeymoon phase I mentioned on the previous page. The production stuff is important, but it's way too common that good production turns into problems once the sales figures start coming in. So far what I've seen from Blue Moon isn't encouraging on that front. The most recent release on their site is not available in stores and the Look Inside section on Amazon shows numerous editing errors on the first pages, including misspellings. It has a sales rank in the 1M+ range.

It's always great to see our books the way we wanted 'em. Nothing wrong with that, but the meat comes later. Ask questions now. That's all I'm suggesting.

Yes, there are up front costs to self-pubbing and it's by no means right for everyone. It wouldn't be right for me right now. Some people make that money back very quickly because decent self-pub sales will pay for the editing, though there is an up front investment. Some books won't make it back. That's the risk of being your own publisher. There are many good reasons to trade publish, including with small publishers, as long as those small publishers can deliver.

I'm worried I'm repeating myself so am going to bow out here. Best of luck to all and hopefully I've at least been able to provide some research leads for any future needs.
 

ansky

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ome people make that money back very quickly because decent self-pub sales will pay for the editing, though there is an up front investment. Some books won't make it back. That's the risk of being your own publisher.

The risk is there on any front. For debut authors, self-pub is definitely the biggest risk, not just because of the upfront costs and effort it will take from then on to market and promote the book, but the fact that those books have almost no chance of being anything but self pubbed since most agents won't even look at them afterwards. There is just so much competition out there, yours really has to stand out in order to make it. Most sites quote a 1000/year for average book sales nowadays, with 5000/lifetime. And self pubbed books are expected to be in the low 99c-2.99 price range for ebook, or even free for a first in a series, so getting any sizable profits for a new author is practically impossible unless they have some serious connections or are a marketing guru.

With a small pub, they're taking the risk with you by putting the effort into building up your book, because if it doesn't sell, they don't get their money back and don't get paid. That doesn't mean any small pub is like that - there are plenty who just take a manuscript and throw it on their site and take up profits, but those who work with the author to better the book, get it in stores and in the hands of readers, that's worth it.

With Blue Moon, Nirvana might look the coolest of their books, but it's not a good example of their marketing/sales because it's written under a pseudonym of a guy who doesn't want to lose his job by showing who he is (I read the book and that was at the end). Therefore, he does not have a website/social media/do any promotion even under the pen name. However, if you look at the Elora of Stone series, it's a Canadian best seller and is available in stores. I've spoken with the author and she says Blue Moon did a lot of help with marketing, including scheduling signings, getting her books in bookstores, and talking to media outlets. Just today, Blue Moon told me they secured an exclusive cover reveal on YA Interrobang for my book. They actually do the work.

But you may be right, I am definitely still in the honeymoon phase. So come November when my book is released I will provide some better insight!
 
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ctripp

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>However, if you look at the Elora of Stone series, it's a Canadian best seller and is available in stores.<

And THAT is what I like to hear Ansky, it makes a difference in the way I view a Publisher! It's not the only thing I would look for but it's a good sign.
A review on Goodreads mentioned their son wishing the book "Elora of Stone" was available in their school and that's a good point. Is the publisher getting the books into the school and public libraries. Canadian Publishers struggle, even the larger of them, and they need those sales, along with US distribution, to make it. Do you know if the publisher gets reviews in School Library Journal for example?


 

VeryBigBeard

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I really wasn't going to respond again, but when I look at Elora of Stone on chapters.ca, I can see the listing but none are listed as stocked in any stores.

This is the typical "it's available to order" thing. If I walk into a bookstore as I did the other day, I won't see that book. I won't even know it exists. When I wrote my previous posts I did enough digging to realize Elora of Stone is an interesting series. I just wouldn't have known about it but for this thread.

ETA: I just narrowed the chapters.ca search to only show stores with the book in stock. The two stores are both in PEI, with four books between them. This is good, as people in PEI buy books. It's not distribution--more likely local consignment from the author who, if I recall from reading about her, is also in PEI.
 
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almostgrace

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My BMP Experience

I signed with Blue Moon after they favorited a #Pit2Pub tweet. I had a few offers from other boutique publishers, but I really liked the BMP team. Before signing with them, I read through this thread. I have to admit, I was a little nervous after seeing things like, "pay to play." So, here I am to share my experience!

I have not paid them anything. I don't have a clause in my contract that requires me to "pay back" any money spent to create and promote The Goodbyes. They are doing an actual print run of paperbacks, and they're affiliated with Ingram. That means if my book does well online (Amazon, B&N, and Kobo), booksellers will stock it on actual shelves.

I have a publicist who is doing a fantastic job. Yes, most of the publicity comes from bloggers. I pull my own weight marketing my book, too. This is my first (published) book. I'm ok with putting in some effort!

Hope this helps my fellow #Pit2Pub peeps! Feel free to reach out to me if you are considering signing with them.

~Leslie Welch
 
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ctripp

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VeryBigBeard, you carried the investigation further then I did. I saw "in stock" and totally missed that it was "in stock ON LINE" and just checked myself the store locations in my City that would carry it and all have zero copies. For a "best seller" that's not usual.
Also checked the library catalogue and they do not have the book (physical or e) The PEI store's were, as you say, likely approached by the Author.
 
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akaria

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They are doing an actual print run of paperbacks, and they're affiliated with Ingram. That means if my book does well online (Amazon, B&N, and Kobo), booksellers will stock it on actual shelves.

I have a publicist who is doing a fantastic job. Yes, most of the publicity comes from bloggers. I pull my own weight marketing my book, too. This is my first (published) book. I'm ok with putting in some effort!

I'm sorry almostgrace, but that's not how books get into bookstores. Barnes and Noble, Chapters, Books-A-Million, etc don't check the Amazon best seller list to see what books they will carry on the shelves. Most likely, your book will be available to order at the bookstore if someone asks for it. That is very different from browsing the shelves and finding your book there. Readers need to know your book exists before they can ask a store clerk to order it. Sooo....

Can you be more specific about the kinds of things your publicist does to get Blue Moon books noticed? I'm looking for a publisher who's marketing and promotion do more for me than I can do myself through social media.
 
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VeryBigBeard

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VeryBigBeard, you carried the investigation further then I did. I saw "in stock" and totally missed that it was "in stock ON LINE" and just checked myself the store locations in my City that would carry it and all have zero copies. For a "best seller" that's not usual.
Also checked the library catalogue and they do not have the book (physical or e) The PEI store's were, as you say, likely approached by the Author.

Yeah, well, the Chapters web UI makes figuring out anything online so confusing that you're almost better off going in and ordering in person, where they are simply confused rather than confusing. Far too often I go into Chapters and ask for help finding something or ordering it and the sales rep I'm talking to is clearly far more knowledgeable about the many fragrance products they sell on the side than books. :rant:

almostgrace, in addition to the distro issues, be sceptical of over-reliance on bloggers for promotion. Blogs are key for self-publishers and e-books, to some extent, because traditional reviews won't touch self-pubbed books, which is a pity but there are reasons. One of the issues I have with BMP is that the review blurbs don't have any of the Canadian literary media--of which there's a lot--talking. A trade publisher has access to resources self-publishers don't. They should be marketing titles to independent bookstores, to distributors, and in trade-specific publications. These techniques allow for bulk sales which in turn leads to the potential for higher profits for the publisher. That BMP apparently doesn't do any of this isn't just bad for authors, it's a red flag for the publisher's business model. A trade pub has overhead--salaries, lights, insurance--over and above a self- or e-publisher. They make that back--and then some--by selling a lot of books. Without distro and proper review set-ups taking advantage of what a trade publisher can do, the costs of running one don't make sense. Sadly, mistakes like this can, in time, lead good small publishers to become not-so-good small publishers as they try and reduce costs or make money in other ways. Not saying this will happen to BMP. Like someone mentioned earlier Canada is quite friendly to small, niche publishers with grants allowing a couple of informed folks to publish works they think are important. But ask the questions.
 

almostgrace

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I'd be happy to clarify what I meant about the Ingram connection! That's correct. Bookstores aren't going to simply stock my book until there's a critical mass of requests. Each Barnes & Noble I've visited on my book tour orders stock of my book for their shelves. It's also on shelves at Politics & Prose and a few other indy bookstores in the DC area. This is where the Ingram connection comes in. Ingram accepts returns for unsold copies. It's my understanding that many chain stores can't stock a book unless they can return the unsold copies. There are other distributors who accept returns, but Ingram is the most prolific and well-known.

When we started planning promotion for The Goodbyes, I supplied a list of bookstores I was willing to visit and relevant media outlets. My publicist took care of the rest. She also has relationships with a network of bloggers who interviewed me to generate buzz about my book. Once the e-Pub was ready, NetGalley members provided advance reviews on Goodreads.

Blue Moon partners with DigiWriting for editing, typesetting, cover design, and promotion. Again, I haven't spent any money for these services. I have spent money on extra promotional materials (bookmarks, a branded table cover, a poster for my signing table, a book trailer, etc.), but that's just how I roll.

Having a dedicated publicist who takes care of the administrative work of scheduling appearances, writing and distributing press releases, and arranging for advance reviews and interviews is invaluable. If I had to do this alone, I would only have ratings from my family and friends and I'd be selling books out of my trunk, lol.

The reality? You have to help spread the word. You have to build relationships with readers and other writers. You have to stand at the entrance of a Barnes and Noble every Saturday and pitch your book to strangers.

Best of luck in your publishing adventure! Feel free to connect with me on Twitter. I'd love to help spread the word about your novel!

~Leslie

I'm sorry almostgrace, but that's not how books get into bookstores. Barnes and Noble, Chapters, Books-A-Million, etc don't check the Amazon best seller list to see what books they will carry on the shelves. Most likely, your book will be available to order at the bookstore if someone asks for it. That is very different from browsing the shelves and finding your book there. Readers need to know your book exists before they can ask a store clerk to order it. Sooo....

Can you be more specific about the kinds of things your publicist does to get Blue Moon books noticed? I'm looking for a publisher who's marketing and promotion do more for me than I can do myself through social media.
 

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My timelines with this publisher on two submissions:

83K Contemporary Literary:

PR from #Pit2Pub: 2/3/2016
Sent partial: 2/3/2016
FR: 2/4/2016
Nudge w/Offer: 8/20/2016

No response - signed with other publisher.

63K YA Sci-fi:

PR from #Pit2Pub: 2/3/2016
Sent partial: 2/3/2016
FR: 2/4/2016
Nudge w/Offer: 10/30/2016
Response: 11/1/2016: Congratulations on the offer! We wish you the best of success with this manuscript!

Spouse also received a partial request from them with no further communication, similar to my first experience.
 

Channy

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Has anyone had any recent interaction with them in the last year or so? Thinking of querying to them following a fave on a twitter pitch but hadn't initially but reading through the thread they do seem reputable. I am Canadian and at times it was a little disheartening to read here that some of their Canadian authors didn't have books in Canadian stores. =/
 

VeryBigBeard

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Has anyone had any recent interaction with them in the last year or so? Thinking of querying to them following a fave on a twitter pitch but hadn't initially but reading through the thread they do seem reputable. I am Canadian and at times it was a little disheartening to read here that some of their Canadian authors didn't have books in Canadian stores. =/

I did, for reasons, a quick follow-up search on them the other day, and the issues persisted. They've since published a lot more books, few of which are selling well on Amazon, and the issues with ordering them still persist. At least one of the authors I looked at seems to no longer be publishing with the company.

This is just stuff I glean from online digging, but it's not reassuring.

As was (I think?) mentioned upthread, Canada is fairly friendly to small, boutique publishers. These grants can be good and bad--they can help great, niche publishers survive but they can also lead to a number of start-up type publishers where the government is paying for all the rookie mistakes. The latter is rarely a good deal for authors, because eventually the grants run out, and anyway, sales should matter more for most authors. Look for the track record.

A lot of the boutique publishers I know specialize in lit-fic of the more experimental variety, and have titles that have won or been shortlisted for big awards. I've also known some to specialize in local interest or tourism books that sell really well in local markets. I don't know as much about YA, but my gut tells me you'd want a way to tap into the much larger mass YA market, so you'd be better off looking at larger publishers and agents. Unless one of these small publishers has a good track record publishing YA titles--i.e., a couple have gone semi-big, and you've heard of them--I'd look elsewhere.
 

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